Steven Matz has been a staple in the Mets’ rotation (when healthy) since his 2015 debut, but he’s recently been shifted to the bullpen in a move that manager Mickey Callaway hasn’t fully termed as temporary, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. While Callaway called Matz one of the team’s top five starters, the manager also declined to definitively state that Matz will return to the rotation. “I expect that after the All-Star break [he’ll be back in the rotation],” said Callaway, “but we’ll adjust if we need to.” That statement came prior to Matz’s bullpen debut last night — a scoreless outing. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that after the game, Callaway “hesitated multiple times” when asked about Matz’s return to the rotation and did indicate that he could stay in the ’pen for a longer period of time. Matz himself spoke to DiComo and other reporters about the different feel of relief pitching and took a team-first approach, stating that he’s willing to pitch in any role the club feels will help win games.
More Mets talk…
- SNY’s John Harper opines that trading Wilson Ramos should be a priority for the Mets at the deadline, citing defensive issues that have led multiple pitchers to prefer throwing to Tomas Nido. Both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard look like they’ll be paired with Nido moving forward, Harper writes. He quotes one unnamed official who suggests that part of Syndergaard’s 2019 struggles have come from pitching up in the zone more, some of which could be tied to Ramos’ struggles to block pitches in the dirt following a significant knee surgery late in his Nationals tenure. There’s no clear indication in the report that New York will actually look to jettison Ramos, who is an objectively better hitter than Nido even in a down season. Ramos has slashed .275/.348/.414 with nine homers while the 25-year-old Nido has displayed a continued inability to get on base. In 180 career plate appearances, Nido is a .209/.233/.308 hitter, including a .263 OBP in 80 trips to the plate in 2019. Defensive prowess aside, a .233 OBP is a tough sell even for a backup. Nido has walked only six times in his career despite primarily hitting eighth ahead of the pitcher.
- The Mets reached a deal last week with their third round pick, highly-touted high school right-hander Matthew Allan. The signing was the culmination of a bold gambit from the club’s front office, as The Athletic’s Tim Britton (subscription required) details how carving out the bonus pool space to meet Allan’s high asking price led to the Mets “manipulating our entire draft” to accommodate Allan, as GM Brodie Van Wagenen put it. After the third round, the Mets spent the rest of their picks in rounds 4-10 on college seniors, who had less negotiating leverage and thus signed for bonuses of $20K or less. A strong endorsement from scout Jon Updike also gave the Mets confidence that Allan would ultimately sign and begin his pro career, rather than attend college.