Steven Matz Would Help, But Isn’t Enough
According to recent rumors, the New York Mets are interested in a Steven Matz reunion. Given Matz’s love of the Mets and his 2021 season, it makes sense.
With the Toronto Blue Jays, Matz made 29 starts going 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA, 150.2 IP, 1.334 WHIP, and an 8.6 K/9. From an advanced stat perspective, he had a 2.0 WAR, 115 ERA+, and a 3.79 FIP.
Looking at Baseball Savant, Matz success was predicated on control and reducing the quality of contact against him. Put another way, Matz is settling into being that crafty lefty who is a mediocre third starter and quality back end of the rotation arm.
While there were some changes to sequencing and the like, Matz’s improvement was mostly due to the Blue Jays defense. With Matz “pitching to contact,” he needs a quality defense. The Mets were never that in his tenure, and he suffered.
While not outstanding, the Blue Jays team 22 DRS ranked 15th in the majors. Again, it’s amazing how much better a pitcher looks with a competent defense behind him. Ironically, the Mets are now much better than that with a 48 DRS in 2021.
Between the shifting and Francisco Lindor, Matz and his ground ball propensity would truly thrive with the Mets. Maybe now, Matz will pitch more like a three. If so, that would be great for the Mets.
The problem is the Mets really need more than that. Their top two starters in Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco are on the wrong side of 30, and they have injury issues heading into 2022. Taijuan Walker was great for the first half, but then he really faltered and ended the year with a 90 ERA+.
In reality, the Mets need two top of the rotation starters. No matter what the adjustments, Matz will never really be that. That’s not a criticism of him. He’s a quality Major League starter, just not the starter the Mets need now.
If deGrom was fully healthy, and if Walker was guaranteed to take the next step, yes, go sign Matz. He’d be a great fit. Honestly, he still might, and no one should be upset if he was signed. That said, the Mets need better.