Steven Matz won’t be returning home to join a Mets rotation in need of help.
A Tuesday night industry source said that the Cardinals agreed to terms with the pitcher who was a free agent. The four-year agreement is worth $44 Million. Incentives can be added to the contract, which could increase its worth up to $48 millions. ESPN initially reported the agreement. It is still pending physical.
Matz was 30, and had spent six of the six major league seasons with the Mets. Matz is said to have been considering offers from eight or more teams.
Last season, Matz had a record of 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA and 29 starts for Blue Jays. This was to recover from a disappointing 2020. Last winter, Matz was traded by the Mets from Long Island in a deal that brought Josh Winckowski and YennsyDiaz to Toronto.
The Mets’ hunt for starting pitching has intensified in the few days since Billy Eppler last week became the team’s new general manager, with the anticipated MLB lockout on Dec. 2 only increasing the sense of urgency to strike a deal.
Eppler, his staff and others are searching for rotation arms. However they’re also looking at the market for reliefrs and players in position positions that is much more slow moving.
Though a lefty in the Mets rotation isn’t paramount, it’s a preferred option for a team that acquired veteran Rich Hill before the trade deadline to fill that void, after Joey Lucchesi and David Peterson were lost to season-ending injuries.
John Means has been offered to the Orioles by interested buyers, however, being a rookie in arbitration eligibility would make him a very expensive acquisition in terms of prospect value. Another left-hander that could be available through trade is the Dodgers’ David Price, but at 36 years old and coming off a health compromised season, the Mets see plenty of downside.
As it stands, the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker slotted for next season’s rotation. Of that group only Walker — who faded dramatically in the second half — managed to stay healthy for the entire season.
DeGrom didn’t pitch after July 7 because of discomfort that was later diagnosed as a low-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and Carrasco’s debut didn’t occur until July 30, after three months on the injured list with a hamstring tear. Offseason surgery was performed to repair a fracture in his elbow. The right-hander is now expected to be available for spring training.
Long Island’s Kevin Gausman is a free-agent possibility remaining on the board that wouldn’t cost the Mets a compensatory draft pick. The Mets also could look to re-sign Marcus Stroman (another Long Islander), who helped carry the rotation in deGrom’s absence last season. Sonny Gray was also a part of the overhaul that has seen the Reds being considered by the Mets.
The need for two additions to the starting rotation became evident last week when Noah Syndergaard rejected the Mets’ qualifying offer to accept a one-year deal with the Angels worth $21 million.