Steven Matz

20/20 Hindsight: Mets On Rocky Mountain High

The New York Mets flew into Colorado, and they were greeted with snow. That meant another postponement and another doubleheader to the schedule. It just seems like this is the way 2021 is going to go:

1. Marcus Stroman has been nothing short of phenomenal. He’s fielding his position better than anyone, and he’s 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He’s been better than expected, which is saying something.

2. As great as Stroman has been, Jacob deGrom is still the best pitcher on the planet. His striking out 14 and nine in a row once again put him on the precipice of Tom Seaver‘s level. That’s a testament to how great he is.

3. One remarkable thing is through the first seven years of their careers, deGrom has a better ERA+ than Seaver, and seeing the way he has started this year, it will continue through their first eight seasons. Of course, Seaver threw a lot more innings.

4. It was nice to see deGrom get picked up by his offense for once. It was also great to see Francisco Lindor deliver his first game winning RBI as a member of the Mets. Certainly, it will be the first of many.

5. Lindor’s enthusiasm out there is only matched by Stroman’s. When you have these two players out there, it makes the Mets not just more likeable but more exciting to watch.

6. While Lindor and James McCann have not hit yet the way we expect them to hit, their defense has been terrific. Case in point was McCann gunning down Trevor Story to end the game with an exceptional tag from Lindor.

7. The defense still hasn’t been there from Michael Conforto who has had a misplay and a poor throw on Saturday. On the bright side, he has started hitting again.

8. Pete Alonso has started picking it up. He has been hitting it hard all year, and at least in Coors Field, his rockets were finding holes.

9. The best way to describe how great Brandon Nimmo has been to start the season is a 1-for-4 day is an off-day. After all, it was the first time all season he only reached base fewer than two times.

10. It looks like it just might be one of those hard luck years for Jeff McNeil as not matter how much he hits it hard, it is just going to find someone.

11. While we can expect the bat to turn around, we don’t know when his glove will. He made an error which almost cost the Mets the win. While it is still early, he is at a -1 OAA. He’s generally better than that, so it is still too early to be concerned.

12. That said, the Mets best defensive alignment is still with McNeil at third and Luis Guillorme at second. That is something to keep in mind when the Mets continue to run out ground ball pitcher after ground ball pitcher.

13. Speaking of Guillorme, despite his playing very well to start the season, it appears with J.D. Davis activated off the IL, he’ll never play again. That is all the more baffling considering the Mets have all of these ground ball pitchers, and Guillorme is a flat out better player.

14. There was far too much of an overreaction to Luis Rojas going to Robert Gsellman and Jacob Barnes in the second game of the doubleheader. The Mets simply cannot keep going to Trevor May and Miguel Castro every day. They are going to burn out, and then you’re stuck with Barnes trying to hold leads.

15. The bigger issue was Barnes making the roster in the first place. The Mets had better options, and they eschewed them to carry him on the roster. Case-in-point, it appears Joey Lucchesi is probably better suited to the bullpen, which would have allowed them to carry Jordan Yamamoto.

16. Speaking of Mets pitching decisions, Steven Matz has been phenomenal to start the season. Trading him was a completely unforced error. Hopefully, it will not cost them at some point this season. And yes, he would have been successful with the Mets this year.

17. Seeing all that has transpired, it is hard to believe Sandy Alderson still has a job with the Mets. Perhaps, Steve Cohen is allowing the organizational review to complete before taking action. Until that time, Cohen at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.

18. On that topic, we are three weeks into the season, and Mickey Callaway is still employed by the Los Angeles Angels.

19. So far, Edwin Diaz has been really good. If so, that is great news for the Mets and their chances of winning the division.

20. Jonathan Villar hitting a pinch hit RBI double driving home pinch runner Albert Almora speaks to the depth the Mets have built. If they continue getting contributions from their entire roster like the way they are right now, this is going to be a truly special season.

Bad Offseason To Be A Mets Fan

After the Mets signed Jonathan Villar to a free agent deal, the Mets were forced to make a move with the 40 man roster. They opted to designate Brad Brach for assignment.

Brach grew up a Mets fan. In fact, he loved the Mets so much he went to Game 3 of the World Series as a fan despite being a member of the Baltimore Orioles at the time. Brach would say seeing David Wright homering in that game was one of his favorite moments.

Speaking of Wright, he was also a huge Mets fan growing up. Like Brach, he’s also not a part of the organization. While Wright was a part of the front office with the Wilpons, he’s not right now as his contract with the team expired.

As if that’s not bad enough, it appears his number 5 was given to Albert Almora. You’d have to assume this was a mistake, and yet, there it is. Not only is his role gone but apparently so is his number. On the former, the door could be open for Wright to have a role with the team in 2021.

The same can not be said for Wright’s former teammate Steven Matz. The Long Island native grew up a Mets fan. What was once a fairy tale with his grandfather literally jumping for joy ended with him being traded for the Toronto Blue Jays.

It could be worse. Rick Porcello grew up a Mets fan, and when he hit free agency for the first time, he actually took less money to fulfill his childhood dream to pitch for the Mets. What ensued was a career worst season.

Now, he’s a free agent, and at the moment, it seems like no one has any interest in him. That puts him in the same situation as Brach.

Two lifelong Mets fans who dreamed of pitching for the Mets only for it to all go wrong. Now, they’re looking for a new place to play because the place they wanted to play more than anywhere doesn’t want them.

All told, that just sums up just how bad of an offseason for a player to be a Mets fan. If you grew up a Mets fan, there just doesn’t seem to be a spot for you with the Mets in 2021 or beyond.

Rick Porcello Reunion With Mets Makes Sense

After needlessly trading Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays an missing out on Trevor Bauer, the Mets are left looking for a depth starting pitcher. Ideally, they want a pitcher who can both allow them to have David Peterson start the year in Triple-A and push Joey Lucchesi when Noah Syndergaard is ready to return to the rotation.

There are still a few options available. There is James Paxton who is coming back from injury and seems eternally injury prone. There is also Taijuan Walker who has had poor velocity and spin on his pitches. The Mets are also talking with Jake Arrieta who has not been the same since leaving the Chicago Cubs.

Seeing the lengths to which the Mets are going to find that one extra starter, you do wonder how long it will take before they consider bringing back Rick Porcello. While it may not be a popular decision, it would be a decision that would make a lot of sense for the Mets.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – Porcello was bad in 2020. In 12 starts, Porcello was 1-7 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.508 WHIP. He had a career worst 75 ERA+, and he allowed a 11.3 hits per nine. By nearly every measure, this was the worst season of Porcello’s career, and for many, this happening with Porcello being 31 was an indication he was effectively done being a Major League caliber starting pitcher.

Before addressing that, we should consider his August 5 start. In that game, Porcello earned his one and only win as a member of the Mets. Over seven innings, he would allow one earned on five hits while walking none and striking out four. Aside from his winning that game, there was something else unique and important about that game. In that game, the Mets had Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez up the middle, and they were flashing the leather.

That game was an important reminder Porcello is a sinkerball pitcher who pitches to contact. Really, he wasn’t a different pitcher in that game as he was in most of the season. The real difference was the defense behind him.

Again, the Mets defense was terrible in most of 2020. In fact, their -22 DRS was the fifth worst in the majors. That’s one of the reasons why Mets pitchers had a .316 BABIP which was the fourth worst in the majors. All told, the Mets defense was horrible, and it severely impacted not just their pitching, but it really derailed their season. It’s at this point we should revisit Porcello’s 2020 season.

Despite the poor results, Porcello had a 3.33 FIP which is indicative of him pitching SIGNIFICANTLY better than his final 2020 results indicated. Over at Baseball Savant, Porcello posted very good exit velocity numbers and was middle of the pack in terms of hard hit rate. Despite that, he yielded an absurdly high .373 BABIP, which was not just the worst of his career by a preposterous margin, but it was also well above his .308 career mark.

Keep in mind, Porcello generated the weakest contact he ever has in his career, and he did that in what was a Mets schedule facing a number of very good offensive teams. He also had the best HR/9 and HR/FB rate of his career. All told, there was absolutely no reason why Porcello should have had a poor year. He induced weak contact, and he was keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Well, no reason except for the atrocious Mets defense. Keep in mind most of the batted balls against him went to the left side of the Mets infield. As we know, that defense has been significantly improved with the addition of Francisco Lindor‘s Gold Glove caliber defense at shortstop, and it will be further improve by having literally anyone other than J.D. Davis at third base.

Suddenly, not matter who is on the mound, those soft balls hit on the left side of the infield will be the sure outs they should have been. Also, those 50/50 balls will suddenly turn in the Mets favor. Maybe, just maybe, they will start getting to some of those balls few teams could ever turn into outs. Put another way, this is now a Mets team built to allow Porcello to be a successful starter.

Keeping in mind Porcello grew up a Mets fan and would be driven for redemption, a reunion could make a lot of sense. This is a Mets team built for him defensively, and this is a rotation in need of just one more starter to sure it up. All told, the Mets should now be looking towards Porcello instead of considering the likes of Arrieta.

Aaron Loup Not A Great Signing For Mets

The New York Mets had one opening in their bullpen, and they were ideally looking for a left-handed reliever. When their pursuit of Brad Hand failed, the Mets moved towards more of a LOOGY in Aaron Loup.

The good is Loup is good against left-handed hitters. For his career, Loup has limited them to a .232/.301/.319 batting line. That was partially fueled by an outstanding 2020 where Loup limited them to .212/.278/.303.

Really, 2020 was an outstanding season for Loup. In 24 appearances, he was 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA, 0.840 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, and a 7.9 K/9. In many ways, including ERA+, it was the best year of Loup’s career.

When you have a 33 year old starter having a career year, you do have to question the ability to repeat that year. That goes double when it happened in a shortened season. When looking at the numbers, it appears very dubious Loup can be as good in 2021 as he was in 2020.

First and foremost, his .219 BABIP is likely due for a significant regression. That goes double when you consider he has a .304 career mark, and he’s leaving the Tampa Bay Rays, who are the best at aligning defenses.

There’s also his Baseball Savant data. He pitched to contact with very low velocity and spin. Looking at it, you may question just how he got away with it all year. The answer is deception.

Now, deception like that will always play. However, it usually plays one way. That’s the way it’s proved out in MOST of Loup’s career.

While he’s kept left-handed hitters at bay, right-handed hitters have teed off on him to the tune of a .264/.332/.424 batting line. That was completely different in 2020 with Loup getting the better of right-handed hitters.

In fact, Loup dominated them and was better against them than lefties. Right-handed batters only mustered a .192/.246/.423 batting line off of him.

This was a complete outlier. Over the Sox years previous to 2020, right-handed batters OPS against Loup ranged from .721 to .925. If Loup returns to those levels, and given his BABIP, he very well might, that’s problematic.

Remember, the days of the LOOGY are gone. All relievers must pitch to at least three batters. There are some exceptions like retiring the last batter of an inning. That said, most often Loup will be called upon to face at least three batters.

For Loup to be a useful and effective reliever, he needs to be able to repeat his 2020. That’s highly debatable. You are also left to wonder if Steven Matz could’ve better fit this role before the trade. On that note, Joey Lucchesi, who is now a starter, or another free agent reliever could’ve better fit this role.

There’s also the matter of why do you even need a LOOGY. Again, the rules are set to make a LOOGY a thing of the past. You do have to wonder if Trevor Rosenthal, a pitcher with good splits against left-handed hitters, would’ve been a better investment.

On that note, we should take into account, Loup was a backup option, and it’s just a one year deal. Maybe he repeats his 2020 breakout, and maybe he regresses to career norms. For a one year deal, it’s worth a shot even if there were better ways to address this spot in the bullpen.

So, in the end, this wasn’t a great move by the Mets. By the same token, it’d be a stretch to call it a bad one. The Mets probably should’ve done better here, but if Loup is good again, then the Mets did extremely well.

Steven Matz Trade A Mistake

One of the things the New York Mets said they were prioritizing depth. That included starting pitching depth. When the Mets traded Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays, they undid some of that.

Yes, we all know Matz had a maddening Mets career. While many expected a breakout in 2020 following a very good second half in 2019, it didn’t materialize. Honestly, we’ll never quite know how much of that was related to the truly bizarre nature of that season.

Regardless, Matz was needed depth. He also has shown himself to be better than the Mets other SP options.

As noted, Joey Lucchesi is really a two pitch pitcher who may belong in the bullpen. Also, David Peterson had extremely suspect peripherals indicating he needs more development time before he can truly be counted on as a fifth starter.

This shouldn’t be read to mean Matz was absolutely reliable or a sure thing. We know that’s not true. However, that’s double true for Lucchesi and Peterson. In these instances, there’s strength in numbers. It’s better to look for 1-2 of three to emerge than need two questionable pieces to pitch well.

That also moves pitchers like Franklyn Kilome, Corey Oswalt, and Jerad Eickhoff up the depth chart and much closer to pitching games for the Mets. The Mets didn’t want them starting games for the Mets in 2021, and now, they’re closer to doing so.

Obviously, the Mets could sign someone to ameliorate this. The problem on that front is it’s difficult to imagine getting a better pitcher with more upside for less than Matz’s $5.2 million. This is also contingent on the Mets actually getting that pitcher or pitchers.

If this was a move to clear payroll for a Trevor Bauer, you should question why Matz’s contract NEEDED to be moved. You also have to question if Bauer is really worth losing at least one of Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Stroman, or Noah Syndergaard.

If this was about depth, it makes less sense as the Mets acquired what are really three right-handed relief prospects. Drawing your attention back to the summer of 2017, identifying right-handed relief prospects really isn’t Sandy Alderson’s strong suit.

Love or hate Matz, he was real depth. His work with Phil Regan could’ve paid off, and he could’ve been good. He might’ve emerged as a left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

Instead, the Mets opted to eschew starting pitching depth, put more reliance on unproven pitchers, and rely on Alderson to do what he does worst (trading for RHP relief prospects). Maybe this works out, but looking at the complete picture, this trade was a mistake.

Mets Don’t Have Luxury Tax Threshold Problems Unless Steve Cohen Says They Do

When evaluating what the New York Mets do this offseason, the team has to balance building a competitive 2021 roster with their ability to re-sign players. Part and parcel of that is building a sustained winner and not a typical Wilpon style one and done team.

As noted previously, the Mets have to evaluate their priories when looking to extend Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard. Keeping that quintet is going to be difficult.

That is going to become all the more complicated based on what the Mets continue to do this offseason. Players like Brad Hand and George Springer will be expensive. That affects the Mets ability to spend in 2021 and the ensuing years.

Sure, you can point out the Mets have money coming off the books at the end of the year. It’s a significant amount too with Jeurys Familia ($11.67), Dellin Betances ($6), and Brad Brach ($2) in addition to the aforementioned players.

However, as noted, the Mets have significant players who will require significant money. On top of that, after 2022, key players like Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo are free agents. Exacerbating that is Jacob deGrom having an opt out, and the Mets having a team option on Carlos Carrasco.

You really have to wonder how the Mets are able to keep this going without surpassing the luxury tax threshold. On the other hand, why are people so concerned when the Mets aren’t?

At some point, everyone became concerned about the luxury tax threshold. Maybe, it was watching the Wilpons operate the Mets for a decade. Maybe, it was the rumors floating around the owners were going to limit the Mets ability to spend as a condition of his buying the team.

Whatever the case, there is only one man who has concern about the Mets spending, and that’s the man cutting the checks. At the end of the day, the only person who truly knows the Mets ability and willingness to exceed the threshold is their owner Steve Cohen.

That’s nothing to say of the expiring CBA. For all the hand wringing about the current constraints, those parameters are going to be readdressed and reset after this offseason. On that front, it makes little to no sense to get over wrought about provisions not set and not really dickered.

At the moment, the only people who should be concerned about the Mets ability and willingness to surpass the luxury tax threshold in 2021 and beyond is the Mets front office. Well, them and the National League East who has to contend with the sudden Mets juggernaut.

For the rest of us, the luxury tax threshold is merely a talking point with only guesses as to the Mets true intentions.

Mets Need To Extend More Than Francisco Lindor

Now that Francisco Lindor is a member of the New York Mets, the team now has to try to find a way to sign the 27 year old superstar to a contract extension. This is the move the Los Angeles Dodgers made with Mookie Betts just last year.

Its also what the Mets once did with Keith Hernandez and Mike Piazza. Those moves resulted in a World Series, two pennants, two NL East titles, and four postseason appearances. Keeping Lindor can very well have the same impact on the Mets going forward.

However, it’s more than just Lindor. The Mets have key pieces of their core ready to hit free agency after this year.

First and foremost is Michael Conforto. In 2020, Conforto emerged as a true leader for this team and a potential future captain. Since moving past his shoulder injury, he’s re-established himself at the plate with a 135 OPS+ over the past two seasons.

Another homegrown Mets player who will be up for free agency is Noah Syndergaard, who will be returning from Tommy John at some point in 2021. Before suffering that injury, he was arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball.

From his debut in 2015 – 2019, Syndergaard was 10th best in the majors in FIP and WAR while having the second best hard hit rate. He’s also a pitcher who thrives on the big stage. He was the last Mets pitcher to win a postseason game, and in the last Mets postseason game he arguably out-pitched Madison Bumgarner over seven innings.

At 28, he’s still young and in his prime. This is the type of pitcher teams usually move to make a part of their franchise for as long as they possibly can.

Joining Syndergaard near the top of the Mets rotation and free agency is Marcus Stroman. Like Syndergaard, the 2017 World Baseball Classic MVP was born to pitch in the big game and on the biggest stage.

What truly stands out with Stroman is not just his positivity, but his tireless pursuit to improve as a pitcher. That is exactly the type of pitcher who not only tends to improve as years progress, but he’s the type of pitcher who has a positive impact on teammates.

In terms of advanced stats like FIP and WAR, he lines up as a number two starter. However, he’s someone who you trust against another team’s ace. He’s not good, and he’s not getting outworked by anyone.

Right there, the Mets have four extremely important pieces due for an extension. After 2020, their two best position players, and two of their best three starters hit the free agent market. If the Mets truly want to rival the Dodgers, they need to move to lock these pitchers up long term.

That’s easier said than done. Some of these players may want to test the free agent market. Steve Cohen’s pockets aren’t bottomless. There’s also the matter of other players on the team.

Steven Matz will also be a free agent. After the 2022 season, Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo will be free agents. Jacob deGrom can opt out of his contract after 2022, and the Mets have a team option on Carlos Carrasco.

Overall, the Mets have to make a number of extraordinarily important decisions on players on their roster over the ensuing two seasons. They need to balancing being able to extend those players with adding another huge contract.

By the looks of it, obtaining Lindor hasn’t completed the big moves for this Mets offseason. Rather, it means their work really has just begun.

Mets Make Themselves Real World Series Contenders With Francisco Lindor And Carlos Carrasco

In case you were skeptical this was indeed a new era of New York Mets baseball, the Mets just acquired Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. With that, the Mets added a top five player in the game at short, and they added a top of the rotation caliber pitcher to pair with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman.

When you add these players to a core with Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, James McCann, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Dominic Smith. Whether or not the Mets add another starter, bullpen arm, third baseman, or center fielder, the Mets already have the pieces in place to be a true World Series contender.

Just think about it for a moment. Assuming Noah Syndergaard returns this season, this is currently the Mets rotation:

  1. Jacob deGrom
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Marcus Stroman
  4. Carlos Carrasco
  5. Steven Matz/David Peterson

Even if the Mets don’t go out there and sign a George Springer or add a third baseman, this is what the Mets lineup could look like during the course of the 2021 season:

  1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
  2. Michael Conforto, RF
  3. Pete Alonso, 1B
  4. Dominic Smith, LF
  5. Francisco Lindor, SS
  6. Jeff McNeil, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Luis Guillorme 2B

Sure, this Mets team could definitively stand to get better defensively in the outfield. That said, that infield defensive alignment is quite good, especially up the middle, and that lineup is as strong and deep as they come. This is a team who can go toe-to-toe with the defending division champion Atlanta Braves and the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Right now, this is a great baseball team.

What’s even better is the Mets are not done with their offseason. They are still going to add more pieces. That could include Springer, and it could be a reliever like Brad Hand. There are are likely going to be depth pieces added beyond this group. When all is said and done, the Mets with Steve Cohen, Sandy Alderson, and Jared Porter have already done and will continue to do what Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen could never even dream of doing.

Today is a great day in Mets history. Today is just like the day the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Mike Piazza. The Mets got a future Hall of Famer in his prime, and they completely changed the trajectory of the franchise both this year and in the years to come.

Lets Go Mets!

Mets Corey Kluber/James Paxton Plan

The New York Mets are in an interesting position with their rotation. They’re set at the top with Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman. That could be the best 1-2 combination in all of baseball.

When Noah Syndergaard returns, that’s a tremendous top three. The question is what the Mets should do for the last two rotation spots.

Given the presence of Steven Matz and David Peterson, you could argue the Mets have the luxury of taking a shot at pure upside there. That brings us to Corey Kluber and James Paxton.

Both pitchers are coming off injury riddled seasons. Instead of cashing in on free agency, they’re having showcases to prove they can return to form. Those forms are better than anything on the market.

Before being traded to the Rangers and suffering a tear of the teres major muscle in his right shoulder, Kluber was one of the best pitchers in the majors.

In 2017 and 2018, he had a 172 ERA+, 2.82 FIP, and a 7.0 K/BB. If he can be anything close to that, he’s taking the Mets to the World Series.

However, there’s no knowing if he can get anywhere close to that. He struggled in his six starts before he suffered a broken arm from a comebacker. He never made it back that season due to injuries, and he lasted one inning in 2020 before the muscle tear.

If Kluber can get anywhere near his 2018 form, he’d be great. That 2018 form makes him well worth the gamble.

The same thing can be said about Paxton.

When the Seattle Mariners did their great sell off, Paxton went to the New York Yankees. In 2019, he had a 117 ERA+, 3.86 FIP, and a 3.38 K/BB. He showed he can handle the stage not just in that regular season but also with a big win in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Over a three year period (2016-2019), Paxton had a 120 ERA+, 3.26 FIP, and a 4.1 K/BB. That’s a very good pitcher.

What wasn’t good was Paxton’s 2020. He had a 6.64 ERA in five starts in an injury riddled season before shutting it down with a flexor strain. At the moment, his velocity isn’t all the way back with him throwing 94 MPH in a throwing session. Still, he’s getting there.

If Paxton’s ready by Opening Day, you want him in your rotation. Unfortunately, the only way you can really figure that out is by signing him. Teams have the right to be leery, but he’s well worth the risk.

If you’re the Mets, adding Kluber or Paxton to deGrom and Stroman is awfully enticing. That goes double when they would slot into the rotation as a three or four.

Adding both allows them to put Peterson in the minors as insurance and to permit him to improve in the areas where he needs to improve. In the event, Kluber or Paxton falter or aren’t quite ready for Opening Day, the Mets have Peterson.

If they work out and Syndergaard returns as planned, Matz becomes a weapon out of the bullpen. Alternatively, the Mets can cycle through all of these starters to keep them fresh and to the finish line much like they did in 2015.

Of course, the Mets can sign a more reliable option like Masahiro Tanaka or Jose Quintana to pair with one of Kluber or Paxton. You can understand that path.

That said, if you really believe Kluber and Paxton are healthy, and you believe in Jeremy Hefner, you roll the dice and add both. You give them the incentive laden deals they merit/want, and you allocate your funds towards George Springer, Brad Hand, and third base.

Ultimately, that’s just one of many paths before the Mets. Fortunately, they have the people in charge and the resources available that you can trust they’re going to make the right decisions to make the Mets a real contender.

Mets Showing Belief In Steven Matz

Before the change in ownership, there was a belief the Mets might non-tender Steven Matz thereby making him a free agent. Certainly, given Matz’s nightmare of a 2020 season, it would’ve been a defensible position.

However, instead of going that route, the Mets not only tendered him a contract, but they also make steps to aver their belief in him and his ability.

That started almost immediately after the 2020 season. As reported by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Matz began working with Phil Regan. When Matz last worked with Regan in the second half of the 2019 season, Matz had seemed turn his career around.

In fact, in the second half of that season, Matz was 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and a 3.26 K/BB. For several reasons, Matz wasn’t able to build on that. However, with his working with Regan again, he very well might.

It’ll also help working with James McCann with whom he already has a rapport. As reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Matz threw 6-7 bullpens to McCann during the shutdown.

No, Matz wasn’t the reason the Mets signed McCann. However, that is a perk of the signing as Matz will be throwing to a better framer as well as to someone who he already has a comfortable level.

This will put Matz in the best possible position to succeed. Hopefully, this will translate to success. From what we saw from the Mets offseason thus far, they seem to believe it.

They further proved that when they didn’t trade him. As reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Toronto Blue Jays we’re interested in Matz and reached out to the Mets to engage in trade talks.

If you’re a team not interested in keeping a player, another team reaching out to have trade talks for someone you’re intending to non-tender is a godsend. It’s an opportunity to get something, anything for a player you don’t want.

That’s not Matz. The Mets wanted to keep him and weren’t trading him for it’s own sake. They had him working with a pitching coach who got the most out of him. They then signed a catcher with whom he already has a rapport.

Ultimately, in what is his final year before free agency, the Mets are doing all they can to help Matz reach that ceiling they know he’s capable of reaching. They’re letting him know they’re still very invested in his success, and maybe, just maybe, he’s a part of their future.

All told, this is going to be a very interesting year for Matz and the Mets. Maybe this could be the year he puts it all together. Certainly, the Mets are doing all they can to make sure it happens because they clearly still believe in him.