Mets sign Steven Matz to one-year deal, non-tender Chasen Shreve and others

By Deesha Thosar, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

NEW YORK — The Mets non-tendered four players on Wednesday's deadline, including Chasen Shreve, while signing deals and tendering contracts to some who were in danger of becoming free agents, like Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman.

Matz agreed to a one-year deal reportedly worth $5.2 million for 2021 to avoid salary arbitration. The Mets also inked one-year deals to avoid arbitration with new reliever Jacob Barnes and outfielder Guillermo Heredia.

Along with Shreve, pitchers Ariel Jurado, Paul Sewald and Nick Tropeano were also non-tendered by the Mets. Apart from Sewald, who had been in the Mets organization since 2012, all of the club's non-tendered players were acquired by former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen.

The Mets tendered contracts to all other players not under contracts and not eligible to become free agents, including shortstop Amed Rosario. The club has until Jan. 12 to negotiate contracts with Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, Edwin Diaz, Gsellman, Rosario and others before each player can file for arbitration.


Shreve, 30, served a vital innings-eater role for the Mets in 2020 and it was somewhat surprising that the team opted to let him become a free agent. The only lefty in the bullpen, Shreve hurled a 3.96 ERA over 25 innings and 17 relief appearances. Many of his outings provided stability; Shreve gave up one or no runs in 14 of his 17 outings in his debut season with the Mets. The multi-inning reliever, who was out of options and due about $2 million in 2021, came with an inexpensive contract to potentially tender. Ultimately the decision to non-tender Shreve may have been the result of a cramped bullpen, particularly after the acquisition of Trevor May.

Matz, 29, suffered a lost year in 2020 but it always made sense for the Mets to bring him back in 2021 for just north of $5 million. Matz gave up 33 runs in 30 2/3 innings between the rotation and his demotion to the bullpen. His career-worst 9.68 ERA often had Matz at a loss for words or inspiration throughout his doomed 60-game season. The Mets will keep Matz as a depth option while pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, if he remains a part of Luis Rojas' coaching staff, will attempt to restore the southpaw's early-career numbers — like the 3.16 ERA he posted across his first 28 major league starts.

Gsellman, 27, will return for his sixth year in Queens following a forgettable 2020 season. The right-handed reliever is estimated to earn about $1.4 million in his second year of arbitration in 2021. It's tough to evaluate Gsellman's 2020 season between his injury stints, brief shift to the rotation and only six games pitched. After recovering from a right triceps injury to start the year, the right-hander was stretched out to join the rotation for four starts. His season ended early with a fractured rib and a 9.64 ERA across 14 innings. He was hardly set up for success in 2020, and the Mets hope a clean slate will help their bullpen depth.

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