Last year, Steven Matz had a terrific Spring Training. In Grapefruit League play in 2020, Matz put up a 1.50 ERA, as he allowed just two hits and one run in six innings, while fanning five without allowing a walk. But he was unable to bring his strong results into the regular season. In fact, Matz had his worst year as a pro last season, as he put up a 9.68 ERA and a 1.696 WHIP. The biggest black mark against Matz was that he allowed 14 HR, which worked out to a ghastly 4.1 HR/9 mark.

The Mets tendered Matz a contract in his last season before becoming eligible for free agency. And now the Mets are in limbo. Do they trust a rotation slot to a guy who was horrible last year? Do you send a guy making $5 million plus to the pen to be a low-leverage long man? Why would you go to Spring Training and have him “earn” a rotation slot, given how last year went? Should we have faith that a normal Spring Training and regular season will result in Matz being a league-average starter, much like what he was in 2018-19? Will a new catcher, one he’s worked with before in the offseason, help Matz get back on track? Or is he destined to throw too many pitches middle-middle that end up being crushed?

There’s an awful lot of questions without much hope of getting a good answer before the games start for real.

Are you comfortable with Steven Matz opening the year in the rotation?

  • No (70%, 32 Votes)
  • Yes (30%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 46

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21 comments on “Poll: Are you comfortable with Steven Matz in the Opening Day rotation?

  • Wobbit

    Your article astutely sums it up for Matz. I find I have very little tolerance left for Matz. While I like the guy and his arm, I have felt that he lacks the temperament to be an effective pitcher. In short, he’s too nice… does not exactly evoke Bob Gibson or Steve Carlton out there. These were nasty men who hated the hitter, never wanting to give them something to hit. Not so with Matz, who throws so many fat pitches, especially with two strikes, that it makes me crazy.

    I wanted him gone, but I understand the Mets wanting to try and salvage something from his career. I have zero faith in him. David Peterson is almost the opposite… throws to spots, has excellent control, gets ahead, holds runners on, bears down with runners on. He’s a legit lefty in this league and will show that to us this year.

    Matz should not be in the rotation. Make him earn his way through long relief over half a season at least. A spot start when the opposition warrants it. Trade him if his value increases… LH pitchers are still valued out there. He needs a fresh start.

    • Rob

      Wobbit you saud it exactly. He is not a tough pitcher. We all loved the feel good story of being local guy his dad cheering in his first start after smacking a homer but needs to grow a pair on the mound because he has the talent.

  • Woodrow

    Well LH edpitchers still have value, 5 million for a starter is reasonable, imagine the furor if he was cut and bounced back a solid ML pitcher. Depth is finally why he was kept, even now they only have 5 starters, after they sign somebody MAtz is still the sixth starter.Finally lefty starters sometimes become solid relievers. Maybe pitching one or two innings gives him a boost on his fastball.

  • footballhead

    In the past, many have advocated Matz be moved to the bullpen, figuring his “stuff” for 1, 2, or even three innings would work out well. I just don’t see it. For the personality “nice guy” issues that Wobbit posted about Matz; and the ability to come back after a day or two from the bullpen…these are questions to perhaps sort out in Spring Training. I don’t think though, that he has a good track record coming in as a reliever.

    Woodrow is correct about having Matz around for depth or compete with Paterson for a spot when Thor returns. After such a short season last year, I think all pitchers will be restricted in how much they throw in 2021.

    Matz certainly is frustrating, and I also have lost patience with him, but he does have a track record of pitching in the fishbowl of the New York media environment. I wouldn’t discount that. Now maybe if the Mets bring in another strong, legitimate arm for the rotation; and if other teams are willing to pay/trade well for Matz, then yes he is expendable.

  • Chris F

    The main thins is Matz is a complete head case. He cannot shake that, which males him a liability. Secondly is his pitching is far too predictable. Ive said many times here, that he is stuck with pitching problems he cannot resolve. He throws fastballs high, often out of the zone. He throws slow curve balls. When he gets behind he nurses a slow fastball into the zone. Unless Hefner can remake him, he’s simply not a major league starter or reliever.

  • Wobbit

    100% agreement. I never discussed Matz as a head case, but he clearly is. Years ago he pitched too fast, hurried through his starts, constantly failing to learn not to.
    More recently he gets down on the first sign of trouble, body language very defeatist, makes hitters confident. I think we call this “not mentally tough” These are things I do not feel can be shaken.
    Please do not confuse Matz with David Peterson… a true gem among Mets’ draft picks. I keep Peterson over Strohman, who has much to prove to earn his 18 million.
    Egads.

  • Metsense

    In the 1/13/31 Catch All Thread I voiced my opinion and I want to expound my thoughts.
    If the Mets want to improve their odds on being a playoff team then they should upgrade for Matz. If they roll the dice with Matz in the rotation then what is the viable option if fails or injury to another starter? That is my primary concern. I’m more comfortable with Matz being the long man and be the injury replacement starter.

  • HOF19

    While Matz is not a name I want in the rotation the name Trevor sounds nice ……..Now there is a starting pitcher named Trevor (who I like a lot) who by this summer will be making 30+ million a year…..And another starter named Trevor (who made 2 million a year last year )and just posted a 3.24 ERA during the 60 game pandemic season……….If I had to I would take the 2 million a year guy over Matz I would in-a-heartbeat……(His name is Trevor Cahill and he is a free agent right now ).

  • Mike W

    I don’t like Matz in the rotation. After last season’s performance, he doesn’t deserve to be penciled in. He should have competition for his slot. Taijuan Walker is 28 with a 2.70 ERA last year. Career ERA of 3.84 vs Matz 4.35 who is trending in the wrong direction. Matz has had six seasons to figure it out. How many more times are we going to say this about him. If we want to win the division, we need a better option in the rotation than Matz.

  • TJ

    Heading into camp with a roster that has Matz as a defacto member of the starting 5 would be unwise for a win now team, and would offset some of the upgrades to date. For the Mets to be a true top tier contender, they’ll need more starter depth. It would make sense to add another decent starter to the mix, add another quality arm to the pen (Mr. Hand???). Barring injury, this would allow for a strong competition for the 4th and 5th spots between, Matz, Peterson, Lugo, and the starter addition. It may even be signing a #4 and the 3 current Mets compete for the 5th spot. This would provide for depth and decision making. If Matz “wins” he gets a very short leash, Lugo goes to pen, Peterson to AAA, with Syndergaard on the way.

  • Bob P

    I agree with TJ. If Matz is part of a group in competition for the last spot I’m ok with that. I think there’s still hope for him but we definitely should not count on him bouncing back.

  • TexasGusCC

    Chris, you nailed it about the slow curve. Wobbit makes a good point that Matz has completely slowed down his delivery – but not all the time. Darling has pointed out that he telegraphs the curve by slowing down his delivery but maintains the motion on his fastball. Obviously, the league has picked up on that. He “fixed” this problem by shunning the curveball but it was his second best pitch. He needs to start in the bullpen and build up, then maybe come out when he has fixed all the mechanical issues.

    I compare this to a hitter that fell into a slump and started chasing. Hoping Matz can find himself and McCann can help him.

  • TexasGusCC

    Also, I have hoped Matz can talk to Andy Pettitte – who had a high leg kick – and see how Pettitte fixed his base stealing issues with that balk move to first base. Steve Avery had that same problem and also developed a balk move to counter that. Matz needs that to make the base stealer fear him, not him fear the base stealer. That way he can focus on the hitter.

  • NYM6986

    I feel about Matz the way I felt about Porcello and Wacha last year vying to be the fifth starter. The rotation, even without Thor, is pretty strong and Matz will have to earn that last spot. Perhaps a change of scenery to say, Colorado, where he can go in a package for Arenado might even be better for his development. Either would be fine.

  • Wobbit

    I Just cannot agree about the Mets’ starting rotation being “strong”. My take:
    DeGrom is superman, and we just have to hope he stays healthy. He will benefit, of course, from the stronger offensive team and the better bullpen. Maybe this year he will get the Wins that were robbed him in the past.
    Peterson is my guy. Anyone who actually watched, with their eyeballs, saw a real pitcher. Great command, great poise, in his rookie season… after a strong college career. Pencil him in for double-digit wins and super consistency.
    Carrasco seems like a great addition. Hope for six strong innings, 30 times and we’ll be fine.
    Stroman is the real worry. What has he shown us to warrant the confidence? He had trouble getting LHers out, and he seems very flaky to me… the opposite of a rock. At 18 million, this seems like the weak link to me… he has much to prove.
    Matz… (ugh) bullpen. Lugo… best in bullpen.. Syndergaard… ok but arriving late.
    I think they still need one more bonafide starter to be considered “stable”, a ways away from “strong”.

    • Bob P

      I don’t agree that Peterson is a sure thing and Stroman is a worry. Stroman has a track record and Peterson hasn’t cracked 50 major league innings yet. He had some success last year but in a very small sample size and his FIP was more than a run higher than his ERA and the BABIP against him was .233 which points to him having some luck on his side. Don’t get me wrong – I like Peterson and think he has potential but don’t see him as being more of a sure thing than Stroman.

      • Remember1969

        +1

  • Remember1969

    Player A: 2018+2019
    60 Games Started
    314 IP
    297 Hits
    143 ER
    110 BB
    4.10 ERA
    1.297 WHIP

    Player B 2018+2019
    62 Games Started
    323 IP
    290 H
    144 ER
    123 BB
    4.01 ERA
    1.280 WHIP

    Player A: 2020
    6 Games Started
    30 IP
    42 H
    37 ER
    10 BB

    Player B: 2020
    4 Games Started
    14 IP
    16 H
    10 ER
    3 BB

    • Remember1969

      Player A = Steven Matz
      Player B = Jake Odorizzi

      Is Jake worth more than 2x to hopefully bounce back to the same league average pitcher from a dreadful 2020? Why do we assume that Matz cannot? He was a pretty good #5 guy for ’18-’19. I’ll take 60 starts in two years with positive WAR from the back end of the rotation.

      • TexasGusCC

        Good info and point!

      • ⁸Metsense

        You convinced me why the Mets dropped out of Odorizzi market but a team that has aspirations of the championship needs a reliable 5th starter. Matz, Lugo as a starter, Oswalt or anyone else at spring training doesn’t fit that description.

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