NEW YORK -- Left-hander Steven Matz, who has a Pacific Coast League-leading 1.94 ERA, should not have to wait much longer for a promotion to the New York Mets. Asked about a published report suggesting July 1 might be the target date for Matz's major league debut, a team source told ESPN.com it very well might be sooner -- as in within the next three weeks.
In 74 1/3 innings at Triple-A Las Vegas, Matz has a league-leading 75 strikeouts, a 1.103 WHIP and a .207 opponent batting average. He has allowed only four homer runs despite pitching in the hitter-friendly PCL.
Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard all made their major league debuts on the road. Though Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom debuted against the Yankees at home, that was out of necessity because of injury. So perhaps the Mets will look to have Matz debut on the next road trip. The Atlanta Braves have no shortage of left-handed hitters, and the Milwaukee Brewers rank near the bottom in the NL in most offensive categories, including a league-worst .233 team average.
The Mets do not want to commit too early to how they will open a rotation spot for Matz. But make no mistake: Matz's promotion will be for starting duty, not relief.
Optimally, a trade would present itself that would clear out Jonathon Niese and/or Dillon Gee. Injuries happen, too. Otherwise, Niese could receive the same fate as Gee in terms of moving into more of a spot-starter role.
Mets officials this week are more focused on the draft, as is the case with many other teams. So trade dialogue is taking a back seat for the next few days.
The Mets ideally will add a bat via trade -- whether in the deal that ships out Niese and/or Gee or otherwise. Still, the Mets are not expected to pursue a player locked into third base, including Milwaukee's Aramis Ramirez. The Mets do not want to be boxed in once David Wright ultimately returns from his lower-back injury. They are not keen on Ramirez's diminishing skills anyway, and do not view him as an upgrade over what they have. And that's before taking into account the $14 million contract Ramirez has for this season.
If the Mets were to trade for a position player, the optimal acquisition would be versatile, such as Oakland's Ben Zobrist or Miami's Martin Prado, so that adjustments could be seamlessly made once Wright returns.
There has been no hurdle cleared involving Wright so far this week. In fact, Dr. Robert Watkins was away, so he and Wright did not meet on Monday, as has been their customary practice, a Mets official said.
The Mets are expected to start recouping insurance money for Wright beginning in mid-June -- 75 percent of his salary for the remainder of the time he is out beginning from that point. Still, a team official noted he would much rather have Wright playing than some payroll relief.
Meanwhile, the Mets have several roster decisions looming in coming days. Travis d'Arnaud and Dilson Herrera likely will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, with Bobby Parnell potentially to return the following day, when his 30-day rehab window will have expired. There was an outside chance Parnell would be asked to accept staying in the minors to get on track, but a source did not believe that request has been made by the team -- not yet anyway.
Ideally, the Mets would rebalance their bench and bullpen, dropping a reliever as part of the flurry of roster moves that are coming. But that does not appear possible, because the Mets do not want to lose Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin. So Kevin Plawecki, Danny Muno and Jack Leathersich appear the most logical players to be demoted assuming d'Arnaud, Herrera and Parnell all return in the next two days. That would leave the bench with four players and the bullpen with eight arms, including Gee.