Steven Matz Trade: Mets Acquire Three Prospects From Blue Jays
Matz is coming off a brutal 2020 season, but the only prospects the Blue Jays gave up ranked in the 31-40 range in their system, with Reid-Foley a former top-10 prospect who has struggled to deliver value in the major leagues. Trading Diaz and Reid-Foley also opens up a 40-man roster spot for the Blue Jays to add free agent signing Marcus Semien.
Matz signed a one-year, $5.2 million contract to avoid arbitration this offseason and will become a free agent after the 2021 season.
Scouting reports below.
Yennsy Diaz, RHP
Ranked No. 32 in the Blue Jays system in the 2021 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Diaz developed as a starter up through Double-A, though his future is likely in the bullpen. He made his major league debut in a relief role in 2019, though he didn't pitch in the big leagues last year. He throws a lively fastball that can reach 98 mph in short stints, but he lacks an effective secondary pitch to be able to miss bats, which shows in his pedestrian rates. His control has improved over the years but he still needs to throw more strikes, especially without a true out pitch he can rely on.
Josh Winckowski, RHP
The Mets—like any other club—could have added Winckowski for almost nothing in December when he was available in the Rule 5 draft in December, but he didn't get selected. In a deep Blue Jays farm system, Winckowski ranked as Toronto's No. 39 prospect in the 2021 Baseball America Prospect Handbook. A 15th-round pick in 2016, Winckowski posted a combined 2.69 ERA with a 108-43 K-BB mark in 127.1 innings between two Class A levels in 2019. He's a solid strike-thrower who did not go to Toronto's alternate training site last year but went to instructional league, where he ran his fastball up to 96 mph toward the end of camp and was in the process of learning a splitter.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP
The Blue Jays drafted Reid-Foley as a second-round pick out of high school in 2014. Throughout his time in the organization, Reid-Foley has flashed promising stuff with inconsistent results, with many of his issues stemming from fastball command. He walked 65 batters in 89 innings as a starter in Triple-A in 2019, and in 71.2 innings over three major league seasons, he has a career walk rate of 6.0 BB/9. A reliever in 2020, Reid-Foley operated mostly at 93-96 mph last year and can touch 97. His main offspeed weapon is an 83-88 mph slider, an average pitch that has flashed better in the past but is also inconsistent. He throws an occasional changeup mostly to give lefties another look, but it hasn't been effective against major league hitters. Reid-Foley's stuff is good enough to stick around in a relief role, but he has to improve his command for that to happen, otherwise he puts hitters into too many advantageous counts and issues too many walks.
Josh Winckowski Offers Starter Upside
The 22-year-old righthander's jump in velocity helped convince two teams to trade for him in the offseason.
BLUE JAYS ACQUIRE
Steven Matz, LHP
Matz struggled through a rough 2020 season, posting a 9.68 ERA while allowing 14 home runs in 30.2 innings. That performance eventually led the Mets to drop him from the starting rotation before he went on the injured list with shoulder problems. Those struggles are alarming, though it was a small sample size in a pandemic, with Matz pitching more like a solid back-end starter from 2018-19. If he can return to that form, that would be a boost for a Blue Jays team that needs help in the back of their rotation.