Bobby Ojeda On WFAN: Steven Matz Not 'A Qualified Starter Anymore'

Moose & Maggie
March 06, 2018 - 8:57 am
Mets pitcher Steven Matz reacts after allowing three runs to the Yankees during the first inning Aug. 17, 2018, at Citi Field.

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NEW YORK (WFAN) -- If it were up to Bobby Ojeda, Steven Matz's days as a starting pitcher would be over.

Trying to bounce back from a disastrous 2017 season, Matz is off to rough start with the Mets this spring. Through two appearances, the 26-year-old left-hander is 0-2 with a 54.00 ERA.

"His confidence is in the dumpster, and rightfully so," Ojeda, a former Mets and Red Sox pitcher, told WFAN's "The Afternoon Drive" on Monday. "He has nothing but struggled physically and results-wise, so his confidence is shot. Now he says his arm is healthy. Why do I like hearing that? Because I'll tell you something: This guy, I'm going to throw him in the bullpen if I'm going to keep him at all.

"I don't think he's a qualified starter anymore. He's really relying on the off-speed stuff, which is fine. But he's lost some velocity, he's gone away away from the slider, he's more of a hook guy. So he throws the hook, he can get me double plays. I like him as a two-inning guy out of the bullpen."

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Ojeda said such a move could potentially save Matz's career.

"I'm not putting the kid there so he'll fail," he said. "Logically, I think he might succeed there, because he's proven he can't hold up as a starter."

Meanwhile, Ojeda said it was "total nonsense" that Noah Syndergaard was hitting triple digits on the JUGS gun in his spring debut. Ojeda said the hitters are "so far behind" in the first couple of weeks of spring games, so throwing 100 mph was "like bringing in a bazooka to go shoot squirrels."

Syndergaard made just seven starts last season due to a partially torn lat muscle.

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"He has not learned much, and this is after missing a lot of time last year," Ojeda said. 

"He's really putting his thumb in the eye of those who are trying to control him, those who are trying to get this kid through a healthy season."

To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.