What Joey Lucchesi's addition to Mets could mean for Steven Matz

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Scott Thompson
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Steven Matz/Joey Lucchesi
Steven Matz/Joey Lucchesi

The Mets’ rotational depth was bolstered even more with the acquisition of Joey Lucchesi on Monday. A young lefty with room to grow, the former San Diego Padres will head down to Port St. Lucie to battle for a spot in the back end of the rotation.

And that battle will likely be a heated one with Steven Matz.

As things stand right now, the Mets’ starting five looks like this: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson and Matz. The reason Matz rounds out the bunch is due to his woeful 2020 campaign that forced Luis Rojas to move him to the bullpen due to inconsistent starts. Peterson, on the other hand, made the most of his MLB debut, owning a 3.44 ERA over 10 games. Matz finished with an ERA close to 10 (9.68 to be exact).

Lucchesi didn’t have the best 2020 run either. He played in just three games with San Diego before they sent him down to the alternate training site because of his struggles. He had a 7.94 ERA over 5.2 innings, and he was forced to go down to figure everything out.

So both he and Matz go into Spring Training looking for a fresh start. And both of them probably recognize what’s at stake.

Being a starting pitcher his entire career, the 29-year-old Matz certainly doesn’t want to move to the bullpen. But the 2020 season doesn’t define who the hard-throwing lefty is on the mound. He was struggling with command all season long and tried working through it. Now Matz had a full offseason to get down to business to figure out how to get back to the solid mid-rotation arm he has been for most of his career.

But Lucchesi will be waiting for him down in Florida, and while they may be teammates, this 27-year-old doesn’t want to go back down to the minor leagues. He was a mainstay with the Padres in 2018 and 2019, owning a 4.08 and 4.18 ERA respectively over those two seasons. He’s a craftier pitcher than Matz, with less velocity but good break on his sinker/cutter combo that also works in a fine curveball.

It will also be interesting to see who wins the camp battle because of the loser implications. For Lucchesi, he has two more minor league options, so the Mets can send him down freely this season if need be. On the contrary, Matz doesn’t have any options and can reject an assignment in Triple-A if he so chooses.

And it’s also worth noting that a Noah Syndergaard return is imminent at some point this season, too. What happens to the rotation then? We can’t yet tell who’s spot he would take over, but an educated guess would be someone in the back end.

Suffice it to say, there’s a lot riding on Spring Training performances for these two pitchers that will be vying for a spot -- along with Peterson because the jury is still out on him – to see who will be in the rotation and who will get the short end of the stick.