The Toronto Blue Jays tried to re-sign Steven Matz, but he ended up going to St Louis and fans shouldn’t be too upset about that
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The Toronto Blue Jays are trying to improve their playoff chances in 2022 and are looking for starting pitching to do so. One of their targets, Steven Matz, signed a 4 year deal with St Louis and Toronto must continue looking for another starter, likely two. As much as fans may have wanted the front office to keep the band together, it is more than OK that Matz will be playing elsewhere.
To say that the Blue Jays and Pete Walker turned Matz around and helped him rebound would not be an understatement. The 30 year old lefty has an up and down tenure with the Metz (see what I did there?) going 4-0, 9-8, 2-7, 5-11, 11-10 and 0-5 with ERAs that are just as up and down. Coming to Toronto led to a 14-7 season and a career high 2.8 fWAR. He showed moments of being very very good in what was a good season overall. It was a good season to head into free agency.
|7 Yr||7 Yr||7 Yr||45||48||4.24||136||730.1||743||344||114||223||696||4.34||1.323|
|NL (||NL (||NL (||31||41||4.35||107||579.2||585||280||96||180||552||4.49||1.320|
|AL (||AL (||AL (||14||7||3.82||29||150.2||158||64||18||43||144||3.79||1.334|
With the Toronto Blue Jays being rumoured to be in on a number of free agents, including Matz and the bigger fish, Robbie Ray, there was obviously some level of interest in a reunion with Matz. Why wouldn’t there be? With their rotation needing two starters, it would behoove them to keep in contact with someone they know well. And, as it turns out, they even made an offer to Matz:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 24, 2021
Given the deal he ended up signing (4 yrs/$44M), we can logically assume that Toronto offered somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3 yrs/$36M with that 4th year being the deal breaker for Toronto. Adding a 4th year to a deal for Hyun Jin Ryu was necessary to get a deal done, but Matz doesn’t exactly come with the track record Ryu does. Toronto obviously didn’t want Matz enough to add that extra year just to get the deal done. How will he age over the life of those four years? for what it’s worth, Steamer projects him to go 10-9 with a 3.91 ERA and put up 2.5 fWAR. Toronto did not want to risk what the 3rd and 4th year might look like, given what regression might do to a guy who has been inconsistent his whole career.
That is especially true when they have young guys like Alek Manoah and Nate Pearson already in the fold and just extended the better pitcher in Jose Berrios. The necessity to sign Matz just wasn’t there.
We know the talent that Big Nate brings to the mound when healthy. After having hernia surgery, he is expected to compete for a rotation spot in 2022. Looking ahead, Steamer predicts a record of 8-7, an ERA of 4.38 and 1.4 fWAR. Given the health issues he’s dealt with and his arsenal of pitches, this estimate could very well be low. For Manoah, Steamer predicts a record of 11-9, an ERA of 4.06 and 2.6 fWAR. Again, if Toronto didn’t have the quality they do in their rotation, they may have acted with a little more desperation to sign Matz.
Again, they also are targeting bigger fish in Ray, who they are in regular contact with and Kevin Gausman, who they are one of four teams in the mix to sign. In other words, there are bigger prizes out there and the Blue Jays are very much playing for those prizes. At the end of the offseason, we could very well be saying, “Steven who?”. That presumes that Toronto actually succeeds in signing a big fish, of course.
But, the big take away here is that, while signing Matz may have been nice as a depth move, it would not have been one of those deals that give them a heavy push in the direction they need. 4 yrs/$44M for starting depth seems like a deal Toronto should have avoided, so it is good to see they did.
With in house options primed to be major contributors and with bigger fish still out there and very much in the sights of the Blue Jays’ front office, fans shouldn’t be all that upset that Matz signs elsewhere.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.