Steven Matz will not return home to join the Mets rotation in need of help.
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An industry source confirmed Tuesday night, the free-agent pitcher agreed with the Cardinals on a four-year deal worth $44 million. The contract includes incentives that could increase its value to $48 million. ESPN was the first to report the settlement, which is pending a physical one.
The Mets made an offer to 30-year-old Matz, who had spent the first six seasons of his major league career with the club. Matz was said to be weighing offers from at least eight teams.
Matz started 14-7 for the Blue Jays last season with a 3.82 ERA in 29 and rebounded from a terrible 2020. The Mets signed Toronto natives to Long Island natives last winter with Sean Reed-Foley, Yenisei Diaz and Josh. Winkowski.
The Mets’ quest to begin pitching has intensified in a matter of days since Billy Appler became the team’s new general manager last week, with an anticipated MLB lockout on December 2 only adding to the sense of urgency to make the deal.
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Appler and his staff look for rotation arms first and foremost, but also keep an eye open for what has been a very slow-moving market for position players and relievers.
Although a lefty is not paramount in the Mets rotation, it is a preferred option for a team that acquired veteran Rich Hill before the trade deadline to fill that void, Joey Luchesi and David Peterson from season-ending injuries. were lost.
The Orioles are hanging on to John Means for those interested, but in his first year of arbitrage qualifying as a player, the cost in terms of prospects for any team he will likely get. Another left-hander who may be available through trade is the Dodgers’ David Price, but at age 36 and coming into a season of compromising health, the Mets see a lot of negativity.
As it stands, the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker up 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 did not pitch after July 7 because of what was later diagnosed as a low-grade tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and Carrasco did not debut until July 30, after three months on the injured list with a hamstring tear. The right-hander has had off-season surgery to remove a bone fragment from his pitching elbow, but is expected to be ready for spring training.
Long Island’s Kevin Gossman is a free-agent prospect remaining on board, one that won’t cost the Mets a compensatory draft pick. The Mets may also want to re-sign Marcus Strowman (another Long Islander), who helped move the rotation last season in DeGrom’s absence. The Mets may also look to the Reds, who are hanging on to Sonny Gray as part of their overhaul.
The need for two extras in the starting rotation became apparent last week when Noah Syndergaard declined a Mets qualifying offer to accept a one-year deal with the Angels worth $21 million.