The Red Sox could be in the Steven Matz market this winter
The GM Meetings are off and running with plenty being discussed by front offices, managers, agents, and players, including the Red Sox. While the Winter Meetings tend to see more of the action as far as signings and announcements go, this week could very well lay the foundation for down the road. Obviously, with the CBA expiring soon and a lockout more than likely, we could see things ramp up a bit sooner than usual.
For the Red Sox, this means going out and getting the arms that they feel will help them get over the hump in 2022. Both Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora have spoken about the players they currently have links to and would like to bring back into the fold such as Kyle Schwarber and Eduardo Rodriguez. But what about external options?
It was reported that Boston had a representative in attendance for Justin Verlander’s recent workout, and while I think that would be a bad signing, at least the team is being proactive. Earlier today the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that free-agent southpaw Steven Matz will be making his way to the GM Meetings this week and one of the teams interested in his services is the Red Sox.
Matz spent the 2021 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and had the best year of his career playing for the bluebirds. A 14-7 record through 150.2 innings of work with a 3.82 ERA is pretty good considering the results he had seen for most of his career.
The lefty spent the first six years of his career with the Mets with nothing much to show for it. Getting a change of scenery and heading north of the border worked wonders for him and he should see plenty of attention this winter.
Things are up in the air right now for the Red Sox with the most uncertainty surrounding their starters. We know that Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Nick Pivetta will be back but that leaves two spots open in the rotation.
Boston has not only extended the $18.4M Qualifying Offer to E-Rod but it’s being said that the team has also offered him an extension on top of it. While we wait for his answer it wouldn’t hurt for Chaim Bloom to begin looking for other options.
Adding Matz to the roster would fill the southpaw void in the rotation if Eddie does head for other pastures and we’d be able to keep the balance we have now. We also have no idea where Bloom and Cora will go in the area of Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock. Both have shown great promise and are on the fast track to the starting rotation. But I could also see them wanting to keep at least one if not both of these monsters in the bullpen for 2022.
Matz earned $5.2M in 2021 and with his results in the campaign, I could see that number being higher for next season. We all know Chaim Bloom loves him a good deal when it comes to contracts so something in the realm of 3-years/$18M isn’t too wild. It gets Matz a raise and keeps the budget in the good graces of the CBT while giving the Red Sox a decent lefty arm for their rotation.
There are some injury red flags in his history as 2021 was the first season he was active where he didn’t miss time due to an injury. He debuted with the Mets back in 2015 and has had some sort of issue whether it be with his arm, shoulder, or elbow at some point every season. He missed just a handful of days this season due to a stint on the COVID-IL but the arm stayed healthy and that’s what matters the most going forward.
Despite his solid season, I think Matz went under the radar considering he was in the same starter group as Cy-Young finalist Robbie Ray and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Though, his 2.0 WAR puts him behind Ray (6.3), Alek Manoah (2.8), and Jordan Romano (2.3). Manoah was a rookie who stormed onto the scene with a 9-3 record and was the September AL Rookie of the Month, while Romano is Toronto’s closer. So being among that group is pretty damn good if you ask me.
I don’t know if Bloom will make a play for Matz but he’ll get his chance to speak to the lefty this week and gauge his interest. At the end of the day, we know the Red Sox desperately need starting depth and they could bring in Matz independently of what E-Rod does going forward. Also, having a chance to steal a quality arm from a divisional rival while not breaking the bank is the definition of a win-win for Boston.