Steven Matz Reportedly Traded to Blue Jays from Mets for Prospects

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2021

New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz reacts during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The New York Mets are finalizing a deal that will send starting pitcher Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for three prospects, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan

Pitchers Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski will join the Mets, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Reid-Foley and Diaz have both appeared at the major league level, while Winckowski played in 24 games for the team's Single-A and Single-A Advanced teams in 2019. 

The move clears $5.2 million from the Mets' payroll amid rumors that the team is considered to be "the favorites" to land coveted free agent Trevor Bauer (h/t Bob Nightengale of USA Today). The Mets are about $25 million away from reaching the league's luxury tax threshold thanks to other major moves they've made this offseason. 

Matz is entering his seventh year in the league off a career-worst season for the Mets, who drafted him out of high school in the second round of the 2009 draft.

The New York native, who will turn 30 in May, went 0-5 through six starts and nine appearances last year, amassing a 9.68 ERA through 30.2 innings. He gave up 14 home runs.

He'll slot into a Blue Jays rotation that includes Hyun Jin Ryu's 2.69 ERA from 2020 and little else. Nate Pearson threw 18 games last season and Tanner Roark posted a career-high 6.80 ERA. 

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The Mets have reportedly issued a formal offer to Bauer, the NL Cy Young Award winner last season and the top free agent still on the market, though there have been conflicting reports about the terms of the contract. 

Nightengale wrote Tuesday "the deal would approach but not eclipse" the average value of the nine-year, $324 million contract Gerrit Cole signed with the New York Yankees ($36 million per year), while SNY's Andy Martino reported Wednesday that the Mets offered Bauer a deal for no more than four years and less than the $36 million average value "he is reportedly seeking" (h/t Joe DeMayo of SNY). 

Martino added Wednesday that the sides are "not close to an agreement." 

The Mets have all but locked up their rotation, which boasts two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Carlos Carrasco, who joined shortstop Francisco Lindor in coming over from Cleveland. Adding Bauer on the front end would make the Mets unstoppable on the hill this season.