Former stud Astros reliever now in decline dealt in early trade to the Mets

Houston is looking pretty smart to have moved on from at least one bullpen arm, as he just got dealt to the Mets after struggling with his new team.
Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins
Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Through all of the changes that the Houston Astros' bullpen underwent last offseason, one of the more under-appreciated ones was the decision to let Phil Maton leave in free agency. Maton wasn't the sexiest of relievers, but he was as steady as they come for Houston, posting a 3.42 ERA in 135 appearances in 2022 and 2023.

Despite his track record, Houston decided to move on, and Maton signed a deal with the Rays that included a club option for 2025. However, the Rays have faded badly in 2024, and with Maton struggling in Tampa, they decided to trade him to the Mets to help kick off hot stove season.

Stalwart Astros reliever Phil Maton on the move again with trade to the Mets

While Maton once was a really valuable part of the Astros' bullpen, he had struggled mightily with the Rays this season. He boasts a 4.58 ERA over 40 appearances with a very noticeable drop-off in his strikeout and walk rates. With the Rays' playoff hopes all but dead, they decided to shed his salary, and Maton now gets a change of scenery with a Mets team that is on the fringes of playoff contention.

In some ways, this turn of events vindicates Houston's decision to part with Maton in the first place. Relievers are a valuable commodity, but they are also a very volatile one. The seasons that Maton, as well as former Astros reliever Hector Neris, are having with their new teams seem to indicate Houston bet on the right horses (although signing Josh Hader isn't looking a bit less great these days).

All that said, hopefully Maton turns things around with the Mets. He was such an important part of multiple deep playoff runs, and while he is no longer an Astro, we hope he can get back on track nonetheless.

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