7. January 26th, 2021
Blue Jays receive: LHP Steven Matz
New York Mets receive: RHP Sean Reid-Foley, RHP Josh Winckowski, and RHP Yennsy Diaz
The second deal with the Mets to make the top ten list, Ross Atkins and co. reached out to New York and acquired southpaw Steven Matz, sending a trio of prospects the opposite way.
Coming off a rough 2020 campaign where he posted a 9.68 ERA through nine outings, Matz entered the Blue Jays roster with something to prove heading into his payday free agent year. It was not known whether the left-hander would feature in the club’s rotation or bullpen to begin the year but the New York product spent the entire season in the rotation. After a strong start and a shaky middle, Matz finished the year with a 3.82 ERA through 29 starts and 150.2 innings, collecting 144 strikeouts and a 2.6 BB/9.
Heading to New York was former top prospect Sean Reid-Foley, who was struggling to find a spot on the Jays active roster and could never fully cement himself in the rotation when given the opportunity. He spent a significant portion of the 2021 season on the IL with right elbow inflammation but did appear in 12 games for the Mets, posting a 5.23 ERA with 26 strikeouts through 20.2 innings of work.
Diaz appeared in 20 games for the Mets last season, riding the options bus between the MiLB and MLB for the club. He would amass a 5.40 ERA with a 1.480 WHIP.
Winckowski’s tenure with the Mets was short-lived, as the club traded him a few weeks later to the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team deal that saw Andrew Benintendi head to Kansas City. Currently ranked as the Red Sox 20th top prospect, the right-hander appeared in both AA and AAA last year, starting 22 games and finishing with a combined 3.94 ERA through 112.0 innings.
This trade comes in at number seven, mostly because Matz only lasted the one season with Toronto and the prospects needed to get him here rank a bit higher than other trades mentioned before this.
While SRF had the most experience of the trio, Winckowski may be the one that got away from this deal as it looks like he could be Major League ready as early as next year and within the AL East. While losing these three prospects is not the end of the world for the Jays, having Matz as the fifth starter heading into the 2022 campaign would form a better rotation than say Stripling or Thomas Hatch (if Pearson begins the season in AAA).
Had the Jays re-signed Matz this offseason, this deal would probably rank a bit higher on the list but I am glad they decided to pass on what eventually amounted to a four-year $44 million contract with St. Louis Cardinals. Matz was solid for being the fourth/fifth starter in the Jays rotation and did his job well, moulding it into a nice payday prior to the lockout but a bit too rich for what the Jays currently need to address.