An MLB analyst said that Steven Matz is a perfect fit for the St. Louis Cardinals, and it’s not hard to see why.
Left-handed starter Steven Matz and the St. Louis Cardinals are in agreement on a four-year, $44 million contract. It was a surprise to some writers that he got four years, but they clearly sought an impact starting pitcher.
And one analyst believes that Matz is a perfect fit for the Cardinals.
Mike Petriello of MLB.com says that while he did not expect Matz to sign for four years, that “it’s also hard to think of a better fit for a guy without elite bat missing ability than in front of a fantastic defense, in a great pitcher’s park, in a division with wretched lineups. Early frontrunner for 2022 ERA overperformer here.”
The infield defense. We have heard this a LOT before and finding pitchers who fit hand-in-hand with it (aka groundball pitchers) was a focal point for the Cardinals’ front office. Can you blame them? We saw how much it helped Jon Lester and J.A. Happ last season. Just think of how much it will help Matz, who is a much better pitcher than both of them at this point of their careers.
That said, Matz was still very good last season, posting a 3.82 ERA and 144/43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 150.2 innings. He should be even better this season and fills the Cardinals’ No. 1 need this winter, with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak saying that he coveted a pitcher who could throw at least 150 innings.
Matz, however, does come with risk. As Petriello noted, his ERA dropped from 4.72 in the first half to 2.91 in the second half. His strikeout rate dropped from 25 to 20 percent. “He’a a 4.00ish back-end SP and it’s fine, he’s fine,” Petriello said.
With that change, there is reason to believe that Matz will continue that success in 2022. It’s no coincidence that eight teams reportedly submitted offers for him and why the Cardinals felt comfortable offering four years.