Remember earlier today when Mark Shapiro said that the Blue Jays’ front office still had some “opportunities to be creative?” Well, here’s what he meant.
The Blue Jays have apparently traded three prospects (Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski) to the New York Mets for pitcher Steven Matz…
Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski to Mets for Matz per source
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 28, 2021
Matz is an interesting get for the Blue Jays. He’s coming off a dreadful 2020 season in which he put up a 9.68 ERA over the course of 30 2/3 innings, but he was a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter before that. Between 2018 and 2019, Matz put together a 4.09 ERA over 314 innings.
Heading the other way are three pitching prospects.
Reid-Foley is the biggest name of the group as he was on the radar as one of the Blue Jays’ top pitching prospects a couple of years ago. He has nasty stuff but struggles with command and it seemed inevitable that he would be shifted into the bullpen come 2021.
Diaz is a low-level prospect who has put up solid results in the minors, like a 3.05 ERA in Low and High-A in 2018, but doesn’t boast high-quality stuff or particularly good underlying numbers. Like with Reid-Foley, it appears as though Diaz’s best path forward was through the bullpen.
Finally, there’s Winckowski, who went unclaimed through the Rule 5 draft this year. He put together a 2.69 ERA between Lansing and Dunedin in 2019.
So, basically, Winckowski is a lottery ticket and Reid-Foley and Diaz are a couple of guy who had fallen behind a large group of depth starters the Blue Jays had built up at the Triple-A level. Getting a legitimate big-league starter in return for this package is pretty tidy work.
Obviously there’s no saying that Matz is going to bounce back to where he was at in 2018 and 2019, but the Blue Jays aren’t giving up a hell of a lot in this gamble. I had thought Reid-Foley could become a good reliever in the Majors, but the other two have never really been names in the system who have generated much hype.
And, hey, when have the Blue Jays ever sent prospects to the Mets in a trade only for it to go horribly wrong? Never!!!