The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets very well may end up squaring off in the 2021 World Series following a flurry of moves during this shortened offseason. However, if that be the case, left-handed pitcher Steven Matz would not be a member of the National League team.
On Wednesday evening, the Toronto Blue Jays dealt three pitching prospects to New York in exchange for the services of the 29-year-old starting pitcher. Going to the Mets are right-handed pitchers Sean Reid-Foley, Josh Winckowski and Yennsy Díaz.
Heading to Toronto is a starter in need of a fresh change of scenery. Recently signing a one-year, $5.2 million contract with New York, Matz is looking to rebound from his worst statistical season of his six-year major league career.
In the abbreviated 2020 campaign, he went 0-5 and saw his earned runs average inflate to over 9.68, while being dropped from the team’s starting rotation. He came in in relief three times. Lifetime, Matz holds a 31-41 record and a 4.35 ERA through 107 total starts. He started three games in the 2015 postseason, putting up a 3.68 earned runs average over 14.2 innings of work.
Despite battling some elbow and arm issues in past years, Matz should add to the Jays’ starting rotation, as the team insists it isn’t done with its busy offseason quite yet. In need of additional help in the rotation, expect GM Ross Atkins to remain busy over the course of the next two weeks.
In shipping away Díaz and Reid-Foley, Toronto has been able to open up a roster spot for the recently-acquired Marcus Semien (pending physical). The Blue Jays’ starting rotation now includes ace Hyun-Jin Ryu, Nate Pearson, Tanner Roark and offseason signee Robbie Ray.
Heading to New York is a recent minor-league graduate, as well as the Jays’ 26th and 27th best prospects. Despite the low ranking, the last time the Blue Jays sent a pitching prospect to the Mets it seemed to work out alright in New York – see Noah Syndergaard.
Winckowski, 22, played ‘A’ ball with both Dunedin (Florida State League) and Lancing (Midwest League) during the 2019 season. He went 10-8 and tossed up a 2.69 earned runs average over 127 innings pitched. Winckowski was selected as a 15th-round pick in the 2016 Draft.
Díaz, 24, chucked the ball with New Hampshire (‘AA’ Eastern League) in 2019, going 11-9 and picking up a 3.74 earned runs average in 144 innings pitched. He started 24 games for New Hampshire before making his Blue Jays debut in 2019, where he played one game for the team that signed him as a free agent in 2014.
Reid-Foley, 25, pitched in relief upon five occasions for Toronto in 2020. He had a 1-0 record with a 1.35 earned runs average in 6.2 innings pitching with the Jays. In three total seasons with Toronto, Reid-Foley went 5-8 and had 76 strikeouts and a 4.40 earned runs average to boot. He appeared in 21 total games, including 13 starts.
Heavy speculation surrounding the potential of the Mets making this move as an attempt to clear space for New York to continue with its busy offseason and sign fellow starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.