It was a busy Wednesday for the New York Mets, signing LHP Aaron Loup to a one-year deal (pending physical), officially announcing that Zack Scott would act as acting GM just a week after former GM Jared Porter was fired, and trading Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for three prospects.
But before we thank Matz properly, lets analyse the Loup move and how the Mets bullpen shapes up for 2021.Embed from Getty Images
Loup, 33, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 2009 MLB draft, pitching with the Blue Jays from 2012-2017, posting an impressive 3.34 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Loup excels pitching against left-handed hitters, in his eight-year career Loup has held them to a .231/.301/.319 slash line, allowing only five home runs in 551 at-bats.
Loup is a fantastic ‘low-key’ addition to the Mets bullpen which has plenty of upside for the 2021 season. Diaz, May, Lugo, Castro, Betances, Loup and Brach could prove to be one of the league’s best in 2021. But we all know how good and bad the Mets bullpen can be, so only time will tell.
Now onto Steven Matz, a true servant to the orange and blue. Matz, a lifelong Mets fan, grew up on Long Island not too far away from Queens, where he would eventually play baseball for his boyhood team. Growing up as a Mets fan, Matz’s mom used to peel the coupons off milk cartons in order to get Mets tickets to take the whole family to Shea and see the Mets play.Embed from Getty Images
Matz’s boyhood dream came true when he was drafted in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the New York Mets out of Ward Melville High School. Matz didn’t make his professional debut until 2012 after an extra-long recovery from Tommy John surgery, but moved quickly through the minor leagues, reaching Double-A in 2014 and eventually, the majors in the summer of 2015.
In 2015, Matz was pitching to an incredible, 2.19 ERA in Triple-A (also in a known hitters’ ballpark) which earned him the call up to the major leagues, set to make his debut on 28 June against the Cincinnati Reds.
Matz’s MLB debut was incredible, going 7⅔ innings and allowing five hits, two earned runs, three walks and six strikeouts. But that excellent performance was backed further by his performance at the plate, Matz went 3-3 with four RBI which would only be the start to an impressive rookie season, which saw Matz pitch to a 2.27 ERA in 35 innings. He also pitched to a 3.36 ERA in the postseason.
Unfortunately for Matz, he could not replicate his rookie season success. Injury-riddled 2016 and 2017 seasons denied Matz of vital MLB experience and despite being healthy for most of 2018, 2019 and 2020, he became just an average pitcher, with his short 2020 season going down as one of the worst in franchise history.
Matz will be heading to Toronto where I personally believe a change of scenery will benefit him. But I urge Mets fans not to remember Matz by his 2020 season, I urge them to remember Matz as a lifelong Mets fan who wore his heart on his sleeve for New York and gave everything to succeed in Orange and Blue, but it just didn’t work out.