Why Steven Matz trade to Yankees makes no sense for Mets

Steven Matz
Steven Matz. (Photo: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

Linking Mets pitchers to the Yankees has become something of a tradition in recent years.

Two years ago, it was Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, last year, it was Syndergaard and Wheeler.

This year, it’s Steven Matz.

Mike Puma and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported on Monday that the Mets and Yankees “have spoken about potentially moving Matz to the Bronx,” before Opening Day.

The Yankees have already suffered major hits to their starting-pitching depth this offseason, prompting such reported conversations.

James Paxton was slated to miss two-to-three months after undergoing back surgery in early February before Luis Severino was lost for the season as he needs Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees still have the trio of Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ to pace the rotation with Jordan Montgomery slated in as the No. 4 starter for now. But the fifth option of the bunch leaves plenty to be desired with choices including Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, Michael King, and Nick Nelson.

Loaisiga is the only arm that has prior MLB experience.

An inquiry for Matz is a logical course of action taken by the Yankees. The 28-year-old southpaw’s spot in the Mets’ rotation is very much up in the air as he battles for the fifth spot with Michael Wacha, who was acquired alongside Rick Porcello in free agency to provide the Mets with rotational depth.

Matz has finally been able to put health issues aside and has started 60 games over the past two seasons, posting a 4.09 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.77.

Not overwhelming numbers, but one that could at least keep a rotation like the Yankees’ afloat for the season until Severino comes back. He is under team control through the 2021 season before hitting unrestricted free agency.

Putting the novel concept of Matz to the Yankees aside, this is a deal that doesn’t make much sense to the Mets.

Wacha and Porcello have given the Mets other starting options, yes, but trading away a pitcher that has averaged 30 starts over the past two seasons depletes that all-important depth — especially if injuries strike. And the Mets are all too familiar with seeing their starters go down over the past decade.

If the Mets hypothetically traded Matz and one of their remaining starters go down, suddenly the team will be forced with moving one of their recently-converted bullpen arms like Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo back into the rotation.

For a Mets bullpen that was the Achilles heel of a team that was in wild-card contention, a shakeup like that is the last thing they would need.

There is also the notion that the Yankees don’t have anything that the Mets truly need in a trade.

Puma and Davidoff noted that the Mets would be looking for a major-league ready player — most notably Miguel Andujar. But that would be a price too high for the Yankees to consider. Especially when Andujar is slated to be the team’s Opening Day designated hitter after Giancarlo Stanton injured his calf.

Other possible trade candidates like Clint Frazier would just add another name to the log jam of corner outfielders within the Mets’ roster.

So for now, don’t expect the 16-year trade drought between the Mets and Yankees to end anytime soon.