Mets trade Steven Matz to Blue Jays for three pitchers, financial flexibility

Mets Steven Matz
Steven Matz
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets announced Wednesday night that they traded southpaw pitcher Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a trio of right-handed pitchers in Sean Reid-Foley, Josh Winckowski, and, and Yennsy Díaz.

Matz’s Mets career ended far from what it was originally expected to be. As a part of the next generation of “Generation K” in the mid-2010s, he was the left-handed presence to stabilize the rotation of the future that originally featured Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler.

Only deGrom and Syndergaard remain as Matz ended an injury-riddled and inconsistent six-year stint with a 31-41 record and a 4.35 ERA. The shortened 2020 season seemed to be the last straw for the Mets as the Long Island native posted a 9.68 ERA in nine games that included a demotion to the bullpen.

The Mets were able to move most of Matz’s remaining $5.2 million on his contract, allowing to open up more space under Major League Baseball’s competitive balance tax threshold.

As it’s been rumored this week, it could provide the necessary space to offer top starting-pitching free agent and 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer enough to coax him to Queens, even if it’s on a short-term deal.

While the Mets have reportedly submitted an offer, the parameters of the deal are unknown at this time. Should Bauer decide to sign elsewhere, it would leave the Mets with enough money to sign a secondary pitcher to provide depth behind deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, and — when he returns in June — Noah Syndergaard. They would also have the funds to potentially make a sizable offer to the top remaining center-fielding free agent, Jackie Bradley Jr.

In terms of what the Mets are getting back from the Blue Jays, Reid-Foley was the only pitcher who played with the big club in 2020. The 6-foot-3 25-year-old was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings of work over five games as a reliever.

The 24-year-old Diaz was Toronto’s 26th-ranked prospect and appeared in one MLB game in 2019. Last season, he went 11-9 with a 3.74 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 26 games in double-A. Winckowski, 22, went 10-8 with a 2.69 ERA in single-A ball.