New York Mets Rumors: Is Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Matusz A Target For Bullpen?


New York Mets Rumors: Could Baltimore Orioles Left-Handed Reliever Brian Matusz Be A Target?

It has been a rough weekend for the New York Mets, as elbow injuries have struck them again. First lefty reliever Josh Edgin decided he was going to have Tommy John surgery after receiving a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. His surgery is set for later this week. The Mets were then delivered another blow, as rising starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL, almost guaranteeing Tommy John surgery in the near future. The need for a left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen is now paramount, along with possibly getting another starter as well. Could the Mets be heading into the trade market to fill at least one of those holes?

According to the New York Post, the Mets could be inquiring about a new target to add to their bullpen in Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz. Matusz has been someone the Mets have been supposedly scouting, and if he is truly available, would jump to the front of what looks like a thin market for left-handed pitching as a free agent or trade target.

The 28-year old Matusz, the fourth overall pick from the 2008 draft, was originally selected as a starting pitcher and was a top prospect not only for the Orioles but in all of MLB. He struggled as a starting pitcher at the MLB level, but has found his footing as a bullpen arm. Since August of 2012 Matusz has been pitching out of the bullpen and has seen much better results.

The last two season, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Matusz has pitched 102 ⅔ innings with 103 strikeouts, with an ERA and WHIP of 3.51 and 1.16 in 2013 and 3.48 and 1.31 in 2014. Matusz has also been strong this spring, throwing 6.1 innings with 8 strikeouts, allowing only five hits, one walk and one run.

That would be a massive improvement over who the Mets currently have fighting to replace Edgin on the roster. Currently the Mets have four players vying to replace Edgin in Dario Alvarez, Jake Leathersich, Rule-Five pick Sean Gilmartin and Scott Rice that have combined for an 11.77 ERA in Grapefruit League play thurs far this spring. So yes, if the Mets were able to obtain Matusz it will fill a gaping hole it looks as it they will not be able to fill with anyone currently on the roster.

What will it take to get Matusz into the fold though? With the injury to Wheeler, Dillon Gee is probably off the market. He would be expected to be the first option to step into the rotation to replace Wheeler. But there is a chance that may not happen, as the Mets could opt to have Rafael Montero step into the rotation, leaving Gee in the bullpen. Gee, who was already unhappy with being moved into the bullpen, would more than likely be incensed getting passed over again for Montero.

At that point, trading Gee may be the best decision, as his mental game could be thrown off being passed over twice. For a pitcher, losing the mental edge during a long season could spell trouble. But is trading Gee straight up for a player such as Matusz worthwhile to the Mets? Probably not, as the versatility Gee now gives them as an emergency starter is often overlooked by people.

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The Mets will have to decide sooner or later if obtaining a lefty is a worthwhile investment, which they are quickly finding out if may be. The current lefty options are underwhelming and could force the Mets hand. What was a strength, the starting rotation, has quickly become diminished with injuries for the Mets, and they may have to dip into it even more to solve another problem on the roster. Whatever the Mets decide to do, at least they have some time until Opening Day to go through options before making a final decision.

Next: What will the Mets' record be in 2015?

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