Lefty Steven Matz is headed to the Cardinals on a four-year deal, pending a physical — the culmination of what appeared to be a rather competitive market for his services. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported in the leadup to Matz’s decision that eight teams had made offers, and some details on those offers have begun to trickle out. Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the Blue Jays made a three-year offer to retain Matz. Heyman lists the Jays, Red Sox, Cubs and Mets as finalists.
Grabbing the most headlines in the morning hours after Matz’s decision, however, was Mets owner Steve Cohen’s displeasure with the manner in which the free-agent bidding drew to a close. Cohen, never afraid to speak his mind on social media, blasted agent Rob Martin of Icon Sports this morning via Twitter: “I’m not happy this morning. I’ve never seen such unprofessional behavior exhibited by a player’s agent. I guess words and promises don’t matter.”
In a follow-up with Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter thread), Cohen made clear that his frustration lied with the agents and not Matz himself. However, Cohen and the Mets were under the impression Matz’s camp would circle back one final time before accepting an offer elsewhere, which didn’t happen. Heyman tweets that the Mets would have matched the four-year, $44MM offer from St. Louis but were never afforded the opportunity.
“Most relationships I have had with agents have been wonderful,” Cohen tells Sherman. “The conversations have been good, they really have been. But here this was different. This was something so over the line. I can’t imagine what the agent was thinking in the context of how they reached out to us and the reasons they wanted to come back. I have ever (sic) had an agent do that before with me.”
Martin initially declined comment but eventually, as Cohen’s comments continued to mount, issued a statement of his own (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal):
“We are aware of Mr. Cohen’s tweet. It’s unfortunate that he chose to take his frustrations to Twitter. I will not do the same and instead will take the high road which is consistent with both my character and the character of our client. Steven Matz grew up a Mets fan, loved his time there, and continues to invest in the New York Community through his efforts supporting NY’s First Responders. As a result of all that, there was a strong pull to return to the Mets. But ultimately he made the decision he felt was best for him and his family. Steven is and always will be grateful to the Mets and Mets fans, but he now looks forward to his next chapter with the tremendous franchise in St. Louis.”
Some may wonder about possible long-term ramifications of the spat, but Martin tells Sherman that he called Cohen to speak to him not long after this morning’s tweet. Martin suggested that tension was lessened and that his agency and Matz hold no grudge toward the Mets organization.