Free agent lefty Steven Matz indeed chose his team before Thanksgiving, sifting through eight offers, and landing on the St. Louis Cardinals.
He gets a four-year deal:
Left-hander Steven Matz and the St. Louis Cardinals are in agreement on a four-year, $44 million contract, pending physical, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Matz is coming off a career-best season and has a chance to get to $48 million and will receive a signing bonus.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 24, 2021
First blush? I’m not stomping my feet, but that’s a perfectly acceptable deal for the Cardinals, and I wish the Cubs had made it.
I get that the length and the guarantee is larger than most teams probably felt comfortable committing to for a guy with Matz’s uneven track record, health issues, and limited ceiling (a Jon Morosi report suggested that most of the offers were for only a year). But that AAV is all kinds of reasonable for a guy who, when healthy, is a pretty good bet to be around league average, and who does come with some upside to be a bit better.
Like I said yesterday with respect to the Cubs, I don’t want to give off the impression that I think Matz is a future ace, and in that respect, it’s not like I find it terrifying that the Cardinals landed him. Frustrated would be the better word, because this just looks like a completely fine deal for a useful player. I’m frustrated, then, that the Cardinals got it and the Cubs didn’t.
Ultimately, with eight teams bidding, the odds were already against the Cubs landing Matz. That’s just math. But dang it. Didn’t have to be the Cardinals. Their rotation now has a higher floor, as Matz can help stabilize, together with Adam Wainwright. Jack Flaherty has been uneven, particularly with his health, but can pitch like a true ace. Dakota Hudson is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and maybe a healthy Miles Mikolas is solid, too. OK, when you put it all like that, this is not a world-beating rotation. It’s not like the Cardinals just signed Max Scherzer, though there is “mutual interest” there.
As for the Cubs, again, I appreciate that they were ready to move quickly on a guy who wanted to sign now, but there are no sweets for second place (or third, or sixth, or eighth, whatever the case may have been).
UPDATE: Oh boy the Mets are big mad about how this went down.