As the Mets decide how to round out their starting rotation, "there has been conversation" in the front office about making Steven Matz a reliever, a team source told SNY contributor John Harper.
Harper added that some in the organization like the idea of having the left-handed Matz in the bullpen.
Matz, who recently had to address trade rumors, has been working as a starting pitcher in spring training.
"I've asked about my situation and they've told me I'm a starter right now, so I'm building up toward that, just plugging along, and I'll let the rest take care of itself," Matz told Harper on Tuesday.
With the Mets currently having six starting pitchers for five spots, the New York Post recently reported that the Mets have kicked around the idea of going outside the box for the No. 5 spot.
According to the Post, that outside the box plan could mean not having a defined No. 5 starter. Instead, based on matchups on a game-by-game basis, the Mets would either start Matz or Michael Wacha or potentially use Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo as an opener with Matz or Wacha pitching after them.
But what has always seemed more likely is the Mets simply going with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Rick Porcello as their first four starting pitchers, picking one of Matz or Wacha for the rotation, and using the other in the bullpen.
It can be argued that Matz is not only a better rotation option than Wacha, but a better option than Porcello, whose spot in the rotation appears to be guaranteed due to his history of eating innings and his salary.
While guaranteeing Porcello a spot in the rotation seems sound, If the Mets choose Matz over Wacha for a bullpen role, it will be a bit curious.
Matz had a 3.97 ERA in 2018 and 4.21 ERA in 2019 while tossing a combined 314.1 innings -- including a career-high 160.1 innings last season.
Meanwhile, Wacha -- who was severely limited due to injury in 2018 -- had a 4.76 ERA and 1.56 WHIP for the Cardinals in 126.2 innings last season while splitting time between the rotation and bullpen.
Wacha is on a one-year deal loaded with incentives (with many of those incentives related to relief appearances), while Matz is under team control through 2021.