The Other One That Escaped To The North

The Other One That Escaped To The North

Mets

The Other One That Escaped To The North

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Well this wasn’t so much of an escape as it was a relocation.

As I hope you’ve heard by now, Steven Matz was traded to the Blue Jays last night for three guys that I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about. (No, George Spinger did not come back in the deal.) Matz spent six seasons in New York, a tenure which started with a very memorable debut in which he pitched 7 and 2/3’s innings and also had three hits. And in his first two seasons with the Mets he went 13-8 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP which, along with his electric stuff gave credence to the notion that he was every bit deserving of his place as one of the mythical “five aces”.

But from 2017-20, Matz not only couldn’t take the next step, but regressed big time, going 18-33 with and ERA of 4.83 and a WHIP of  1.363. He gave up more home runs per nine innings and walked more per nine and that’s never a great forumla. The legacy of Matz will always be if he was in his own head a bit, which is probably unfair but it’s also a commentary on the great stuff he had. “He’s too good to suck so it must be in his head because while I don’t know pitching mechanics, I know the human brain.”

Jul 15, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, United States; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) watches the remainder of a simulated game that he started from the stands during summer camp workouts at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

But the last two seasons, it just seems as if Matz just flat out didn’t have it. It wasn’t a psychology experiment anymore, if it ever really was to begin with. 2019 was an up and down season which was probably stained by two or three bad starts, but 2020 was awful, and while it’s tough to judge anyone’s performance in a pandemic, an 0-5 season with a 9.68 ERA is bad on any level, and there isn’t an advanced stat in existance that makes that look good. So the Long Island (or Lon Gisland) native and his $5.2 million salary is flying north for the winter. Matz will always be looked at as what might have been. (Vin Scully once compared Matz to Jon Matlack, for crissakes.) But I can’t imagine we didn’t get anything less than the best of Matz’s ability. Maybe he finds it in Toronto. Or maybe, he just is who he is. No shame in that.

Now the question becomes this: Was Matz’s salary shed for some prospects, or was it shed because the Mets have something in the hop for Trevor Bauer (which I’m still not convinced about but I find it hilarious that Bauer probably won’t go to the Angels because he didn’t get along with Handsome Art Howe.) Or is Matz in Toronto because Reddit stole a billion dollars from Steve Cohen?

Omar Minaya just signed Game Stop.

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