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Mets Hit the Trade Market for Bullpen Help

Photo by MLB Photos (Getty Images)

QUEENS, NY: Right-hander Phil Maton was acquired by the Mets from the Rays, according to statements made by both teams. A player to be named later or cash considerations will be sent to the Rays.


According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns stated that the team is picking up Maton's whole outstanding pay.


The Mets added Maton to their 40-man roster by designating left-hander Joey Lucchesi for assignment. Right-hander Manuel Rodríguez was recalled by the Rays to replace Maton on the playing roster.


In the offseason, Maton, 31, signed a free agent contract with the Rays. The contract agreement was a one-year contract with a $6.5MM guarantee, which included a $250K buyout of a $7.75MM club option for 2025 in addition to a $6.25MM salary.


That transaction hasn't worked out for the Rays the way they had hoped thus far. With 35 1/3 innings pitched, Maton has given up 4.58 ER per nine.


By acquiring a seasoned reliever in this trade without having to give up any prospect talent, the Mets are effectively buying low. If the PTBNL proves to be a major factor, maybe that will change, but for now, it looks like they're just purchasing Maton.


The Mets' main problem this season has been the bullpen. The combined ERA of their relievers is 4.16, which is among the lowest in the league. Due to season-ending elbow surgery, two of its finest relievers—Brooks Raley and Drew Smith—have been sidelined for the entire campaign. Shoulder problems have also put Shintaro Fujinami and Sean Reid-Foley on the injury list.


The Mets will undoubtedly be counting on Maton's difficulties this season to be a bit of an anomaly, as he has previously displayed encouraging indications of improvement. On June 9, following a four-run outing, his ERA was at 6.56.


However, in 12 innings pitched over the last month, he has only given up one earned run and struck out 11 opponents while walking none. It's reasonable to expect better than his season-long results, even if he is unable to sustain that level of dominance.


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