The Mets made a trade with the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Steven Matz was sent from New York to Toronto. The Mets received three pitching prospects.
Reid-Foley, 25 years old, is the oldest of the trio. This is not a return to restock the Mets’ farm system, but the prospects from this Matz trade has given them starting pitching depth. None of Reid-Foley, Diaz or Winckowski ranked in Toronto’s top 25 prospects per MLB Pipeline.
New York sheds Matz’s $5.2 million 2021 salary. While not a big number compared to the Mets’ $162 million payroll, it should free up extra financial flexibility. Matz’s role was unclear after the acquisitions of Joey Lucchesi and Carlos Carrasco. He was a non-tender candidate earlier in the offseason. Getting three pitchers in return for a player who the Mets were considering making a free agent just a few weeks ago is a brilliant outcome.
The Mets’ offseason has been among the most active in MLB. This move is not a ground breaker like trading for Francisco Lindor or potentially signing Trevor Bauer, but it is a sign of a franchise thinking clearly. Front offices can be guilty of making binary decisions based on winning or rebuilding. The Mets have added players who can help them in the future without making their roster notably weaker.
How Matz trade impacts Bauer
New York is reportedly the favorite to land Bauer. It’s easy to join some dots and claim this trade means Bauer’s signing is an inevitability. Of course, Matz is more expendable if they are signing Bauer. Equally, though, the $5.2 million is little more than a drop in the ocean compared to what Bauer would cost.
Reid-Foley, Diaz and Winckowski are unlikely to be more than end-of-rotation or bullpen arms. There is value in swapping Matz’s upside for quantity of cheap pitchers, however. They might never become All-Stars, but three pitchers almost ready to contribute in the Majors are useful.
Maybe the Mets got bored with waiting for Matz to figure things out. This is a new era at Citi Field – this trade reflects a change in approach from a front office which could yet make another big splash.