When the Jays traded for Steven Matz late in the offseason there were mixed reactions. Some Mets fans were happy to be rid of the left-handed pitcher who had spent parts of six seasons in Flushing. Jays’ supporters were a mix of excited and confused.
Personally, I was the former. I remember when Matz first came up. He was a part of a quartet of Mets hurlers destined to lead the team to prominence. Obviously, that didn’t happen and Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard have had varying levels of success and health.
However, Matz has had a solid career. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay a ton of attention to the entire MLB landscape last season and wasn’t aware of his massive struggles in 2020. But in looking at his career numbers, I was confident he could turn it around.
That’s exactly what he did with the Blue Jays in 2021. Matz enjoyed the best season as a big leaguer, achieving a career-best 14 wins to go along with a 3.82 ERA and 144 strikeouts. He showed a great ability to battle through adversity as the season rolled on and had one of the best second halves of any AL pitcher.
Like Ray and Semien, durability has also been a strength of Matz’. This season marked the third time he’s started at least 29 games.
Bringing these three players back would be huge, but the team needs to be prepared if one or more of them signs elsewhere.