The Mets’ need for starting pitching has them looking toward an old friend for possible help.
Free-agent Steven Matz, according to an industry source, has received an offer from the Mets. The left-hander, who has been pursued by at least seven other teams, is expected to reach a decision by Wednesday.
After an ugly 2020 season, Matz was traded by the Mets to the Blue Jays last winter. The 30-year-old Matz rebounded in 2021, finishing 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts for Toronto.
Matz had a seesaw Mets career in which inconsistency largely defined his tenure. One of his best stretches with the club came in the second half of 2019, when he pitched to a 3.52 ERA and 1.197 WHIP. But Matz followed that by pitching to a 9.68 ERA in nine appearances in 2020, when he spent time on the injured list with shoulder soreness. He went to Toronto in a deal that brought Sean Reid-Foley and Yennsy Diaz to the Mets.
The Mets ended last season with a need for starting pitching, and that deficit was compounded by Noah Syndergaard’s departure last week. Syndergaard declined the Mets’ qualifying offer to sign a one-year deal with the Angels worth $21 million.
As it stands, the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker under contract for next year’s rotation, but all come with question marks about their health. In addition, Tylor Megill and David Peterson are rotation depth pieces. Marcus Stroman, an important cog in the Mets’ rotation from last season, is a free agent.
A reunion with Matz would give the Mets a lefty option and back-end help in the rotation. The Mets could then look to add a higher-end option, either through a trade or free agency. Top free-agent possibilities include American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer and Kevin Gausman, in addition to Stroman.
Ray is also left-handed, but would cost the Mets a compensatory draft pick if they were to sign him because the Blue Jays extended him the qualifying offer. The Mets have three draft picks before the second round of next year’s draft. The latest was acquired as compensation for Syndergaard’s signing with the Angels. The Mets received an additional first-round pick after deciding not to sign Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker because of physical concerns.