Ok Mr. Matz, I take it back
One of the more confusing moves the Blue Jays made over the winter was trading for Steven Matz, and I’ll still say that even if it’s worked out beautifully so far. The 29-year-old was downright awful for the Mets last year when he posted a 9.68 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP over nine appearances that included six starts. The Jays also agreed to take on his full 5.2 million dollar salary for 2021 before he becomes a free agent at the end of the year, seemingly using up some valuable budget at a time when there were still talented free agents available.
And yet, Matz has made me eat my foot and try save room for the second one. The southpaw has been fantastic over his first four starts as a Blue Jay, leading the majors with four wins and posting a 2.31 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP over his first 23.1 innings. He’s throwing harder than ever, locating with his fastball and his change-up, and making AL hitters look bad in the process.
Even if the former Met can’t keep up this level of production, which will likely be the case, he’s proving himself to be a valuable veteran starter in an otherwise questionable group. The Jays badly need some sort of stability behind Hyun Jin Ryu, and so far Matz has been filling that role, and Robbie Ray has looked good coming back from the Injured List as well. I’ll admit that I didn’t see it coming, and even told my friends on the “Bat Flips and Maple Dips” podcast that I’d come back in May to talk about it again. I’ll be singing a different tune now.
The Blue Jays obviously saw something in the left-hander, and Pete Walker has been able to work his magic in maximizing the value of yet another southpaw. I know it’s only been four starts, but Matz has been a treat to watch, and he’s completely changed my mind about his value to the Blue Jays.