2:42pm: Matusz isn’t the only trade option on the Mets’ radar, tweets Newsday’s Marc Carig, but the team does think that Matusz is someone who could help them.
8:50am: With lefty Josh Edgin slated to miss the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery, the Mets have been scouting Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz, according to Dan Martin and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Mets have four internal options to replace Edgin in Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez, Jack Leathersich and Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin (selected from the Twins), but the team is “open to alternatives,” per the report. As the Post duo notes, none of the internal candidates have been particularly impressive thus far in Spring Training.
The 28-year-old Matusz has found a role as a lefty reliever with the Orioles after not panning out as a starter. Baltimore selected him fourth overall in the 2008 draft, but he’s posted a 5.51 ERA in 364 1/3 innings as a starter as opposed to a 3.26 mark out of the bullpen. Over the past two seasons, Matusz has been exceptional against 224 same-handed hitters, holding them to a .192/.251/.314 batting line.
Controllable through the 2016 season, Matusz is earning a not-insignificant $3.2MM after avoiding arbitration for the third time this winter. As a Super Two player, he is eligible for arbitration one more time before reaching free agency. Some have questioned exactly how much financial freedom GM Sandy Alderson truly has. If he is more limited than he has let on to the public, adding Matusz’s salary might be difficult without sending some salary back to the Orioles in the deal.
While some may speculate that Dillon Gee and his $5.3MM salary could be moved elsewhere, the Mets reportedly aren’t likely to trade him for a left-handed reliever, and Gee’s importance to the club has increased now that Zack Wheeler likely needs Tommy John surgery.
Whether or not the Orioles would even trade Matusz is, of course, unclear at this point. The team has a left-handed closer in Zach Britton and other internal lefty options on the 40-man roster, including Wesley Wright, T.J. McFarland and Tim Berry. However, Berry has no big league experience, while Wright and McFarland haven’t been as effective against lefties as Matusz over the past two seasons.