On its face, this is a pretty minor deal tonight, with a decent one-year starter going to the Blue Jays for what will probably be a modest return.
But this might be the precursor to another move:
The Toronto Blue Jays are finalizing a trade to acquire starter Steven Matz from the New York Mets for three prospects, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 28, 2021
Mets get RHP Josh Winchowski plus 2 more in Matz deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 28, 2021
Insert GameStop jokes here as necessary.
The thinking has been that, when the Mets needed to clear out some salary for a bigger addition (to try to stay under the luxury tax … because it’s basically a salary cap now), Matz was probably a guy they’d move. At $5.2 million, Matz is not a bargain given the risks, but he’s still worth that in this market on a one-year deal for the upside. I would not expect the prospect return to be substantial here, and I think the move will prove to be about the salary.
That could mean the Mets-Trevor Bauer rumors are coming to a head and he’s about to be signed. It could mean some other piece is being added (obviously there have been substantial Kris Bryant rumors, too).
We’ll see what comes next. My guess is Bauer is going to happen.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays get another high-risk arm for their rotation. They have such a compelling lineup at this point that they just need arms to justify the potential value on offense. Matz is a perfectly fine addition. Obviously there’s risk there after his injuries and underperformance, but there’s also the upside of being a solid starter for 140-ish innings.
UPDATE: Just to confirm, it is indeed not a substantial return:
Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski to Mets for Matz per source
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 28, 2021
The Mets return on the Matz trade is rather modest…
Yensy Diaz ranked 32 on our Blue Jays list in the Prospect Handbook (yes, we went beyond 30 this year). Winckowski was Rule 5 eligible and unpicked.https://t.co/O300pt0Y4O
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) January 28, 2021