As injuries deplete the New York Mets’ depth and put them in an early hole, several midseason transactions will become a talking point if the team falls further out of playoff contention.
Not only did the team suffer a 23-5 loss on Sunday, but ace right-hander Noah Syndergaard left the game with an apparent lat injury. He will undergo an MRI tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. and may join a long list of current Mets on the disabled list.
One right-hander coming back from injury is Matt Harvey, who missed most of 2016 after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He previously missed the entire 2014 campaign to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. While the injury history is worrisome, Harvey brings youth (he’s still 28 years old), World Series experience (made two starts in the 2015 World Series), and a bulldog attitude of wanting the baseball every fifth day.
Partnered with his impending free agency, scheduled for next offseason, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that Harvey could be a strong trade chip for the Mets this summer.
“He will be a free agent in the fall of 2018, and if New York drops far enough out of the race, teams think the Mets will listen to offers for the right-hander.”
The Mets are certainly not making Harvey’s return from injury smooth. Twice in the last two weeks, Harvey was summoned to days early after injuries to Jacob deGrom (neck) and Syndergaard (biceps) pushed their starts back. Harvey allowed six earned runs in 4.1 innings on Wednesday after he was given three hours notice he would be taking the hill at Citi Field. After that clunker, Harvey admitted his body was not prepared to start two days before he was expecting to.
“It’s different, something I’m not used to,” Harvey said, via the New York Post. “I needed to do a better job of being ready. I was expecting to pitch [Friday], I had a big workout [Wednesday], so body-wise it just tightened up and I wasn’t physically prepared for starting. Obviously, it’s happened before once, and I need to be ready for it to happen again. I got the call and I just needed to be ready.”
— Newsday Sports (@NewsdaySports) April 27, 2017
Thus far this season, Harvey sports a 2-1 record with a 4.25 ERA in 29.2 innings. His fastball velocity is down nearly two mph from 2015 — his last full season — and he’s allowing home runs at an alarming rate (1.8 HR/9). Also, despite his obvious talent, Harvey, through parts of five MLB seasons, owns a 31-29 record with a 3.01 ERA. Committing a long-term deal to an injury prone player is hardly ideal and could prove costly.
In Spring Training last year, Harvey was asked about potentially signing an extension with the Mets, to which he sounded open at the time.
“I think whatever comes up is going to come up,” Harvey said, via CBS Sports. “I’ve never shied away from it. I’ve never said I wouldn’t consider it. But I haven’t heard anything considering that.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 27, 2017
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told the New York Daily News last December that he did not intend to discuss long-term extensions with any of the team’s pitchers — including Harvey.
“We’re not thinking about it now, it really hasn’t been our focus,” Alderson said. “It’s probably not something that is going to happen before we head to spring training.”
So if Harvey reaches free agency as a Met, it’s possible the team just lets him walk. But if the team decides to part with him beforehand, it will look to maximize its return.
[Featured Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]