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Mets Should Keep Steven Matz

Make no mistake, Steven Matz was an unmitigated disaster in 2020. He had a very good start on the second day of the season, but he just kept getting worse and worse.

He had a 44 ERA+ and a 7.76 FIP. He allowed 4.1 homers per nine. His 9.68 ERA was unseemly.

Under no circumstances would you tender a pitcher like him a contract. You non-tender him and make decisions from there. However, the Mets are not really in a position to non-tender him, and aside from that, it would be unwise to non-tender him.

For starters, the free agent starting pitching market is a mess. Beyond Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer, the pitchers available are really not guaranteed to be any better than what Matz could give you on what will essentially be a one year deal.

As an organization, you’re in a better position to take a pitcher you know and work with him than go with another pitcher and start from square one. On that note, the Mets should be better equipped to get Matz right.

Entering next season, Steve Cohen has promised to beef up the Mets analytics departments and to upgrade the Mets technology. This means Jeremy Hefner, Jeremy Accardo, and even Phil Regan have more at their disposal to get Matz pitching to how we know he can.

We’ve seen that Matz not too long ago. In the second half of the 2019 season, he seemingly turned the corner.

While working with Regan and Accardo, Matz finished the season going 6-4 with a 3.46 ERA over his final 13 starts. This wasn’t a complete anomaly for Matz. At different points of his career, he’s shown this ability.

Matz was this good in 2015 through the first half of 2017. Again, he had a strong first half in 2018.

There’s a lot you can take away from this. It’s certainly possible injuries took their toll. Maybe, even to this point, he’s battling inconsistency. It’s also possible the Mets increasingly worse defense have had an impact on him. There’s many possible theories and explanations which can be proffered.

Lost in any of them is Matz is a good pitcher who has shown the ability to be a quality Major League starter. For a brief moment, it did appear as if 2020 was going to be the year he took his game to the next level.

During Spring Training, there were reports of his having increased velocity and being ahead of where he’s been in previous seasons.

The best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, was impressed with Matz before the 2020 started saying Matz was pitching “maybe the best I’ve seen him in a long time.” (William Bradford Davis, New York Daily News). He also said of Matz, “I think the upside’s unbelievable.”

That’s the real issue with Matz – the upside is there. It’s incumbent on them to unlock it.

Again, based on the free agent market, there’s not a definitive better option. Also, due to Brodie Van Wagenen’s stripping the Mets pitching depth for no good reason, there’s no one coming through the Mets pipeline to help in 2021.

That leaves keeping Matz as a necessity. They need to figure him out, or possibly, make him a left-handed Seth Lugo in the bullpen. With the state Van Wagenen will be leaving the Mets, that’s it.

Matz is a real asset. With Cohen, they’ll have the people and technology in place to help Matz take his game to the next level. With Sandy Alderson, they have the people in place who were able to help get consistent performances from Matz.

In the end, the Mets need Matz. They should be preparing to tender him a deal and set him up for his best season yet. If for no other reason, there’s really no better option available.

10 thoughts on “Mets Should Keep Steven Matz”

  1. Mike.BTB says:

    He threw less fastballs and more change-ups and got crushed. His line drive percentage went through the roof. (FG)

    1. metsdaddy says:

      You’re right. He needs to make a lot of adjustments.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    Fine, I guess whatever.

    But by your logic we should sign both Walka and Porcello, who had better 2020s, are roughly the same age, and have acrually HAD elite seasons, instead of flashes of promise of middle rotationism.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’ve made the case for Porcello.

      No one anywhere with a clue should make a case for Wacha.

    2. Rich says:

      Don’t put so much stock in 60 games. SPa are just getting loose after 10 starts. Id bring Porcillo back myself because I would hate nothing to do with little big mouth Stroman.

      1. Rich says:

        * have nothing to do

      2. metsdaddy says:

        Stroman is the best pitcher available, and he’s primed to age well. The team who signs him will be very happy.

  3. Rich says:

    You tender him, I agree. We are probably 50-60 million under where we need to be anyway. The new management needs to make their evaluations etc and lets keep in mind he pitched 33 innings this season. Hes 29 year old, has not pitched a lot of innings, hes left handed and still has a high ceiling.

    Whatever it costs is a drop in the bucket compared to the $400 million Cohen is gonna lose the next 2 years. We are not broke anymore, you take a flyer on him.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Exactly

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    “””””His 9.68 ERA was unseemly.””””

    ROFL !!!

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