In the last few days, New York Mets All-Star hurler Matt Harvey has been the subject of scrutiny as his alleged 180 innings limit on the season draws near. Currently sitting at 166-and-one-third innings in 2015, Harvey may only take the hill a few more times before being shut down for the remainder of the season.
But, at the end of the day, the decision will be up to him. And if he chooses to sit out, Harvey may end up being a prime trade candidate in the offseason, as Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.
Harvey, 26, is currently enjoying a fine rebound season from Tommy John surgery. Through those aforementioned 166-and-one-third innings, “The Dark Night” owns a 12-7 record with a 2.60 ERA and 158 strikeouts. Yet, with a heralded pitching staff of young, dominant, and controllable pitchers, Harvey could become expendable in a case of addition by subtraction.
For starters, the Mets are currently in a position to make their first postseason appearance since 2006. A legion of Mets fans that have yearned for this type of season will likely not take too kindly Harvey’s recent comments, teasing a potential shutdown of his elite right arm.
With Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, being critical and standing firm that Harvey shouldn’t exceed 180 innings in his first season back from surgery, Harvey appeared to echo those sentiments in subtle way when speaking to the Post.
“I hired Dr. Andrews to do my surgery, and I hired Scott, for a reason. That’s to prolong my career and get in the best possible position moving forward.”
In a recent conversation with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Boras hit on several points about the Mets needing to be careful with Harvey and the necessity of a plan being put in place that will minimize injury risk. Boras maintained that “Matt Harvey wants to pitch,” but compared the situation to the Washington Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg in 2012 (via Washington Post).
“My assumption was that they were doing the Strasburg approach. Keep pitching him on his normal day. Let him throw his innings. If he gets there and he’s healthy, great. But you may have to shut him down before the end of the season. My assumption was that is where we were headed. When the playoffs came up, I called in August and said, ‘The playoffs are coming. Where are we on this?’”
Boras also brought up a study he did to find pitchers who never pitched 200 innings, underwent Tommy John surgery, and returned from surgery to pitch nearly 200 innings in their second full season. The four pitchers he mentioned were Shawn Marcum, Josh Johnson, Jarrod Parker, and Kris Medlen.
All of those pitchers, besides Marcum, ended up undergoing a second Tommy John procedure.
While Boras does bring up valid points, the Mets need to focus on making the postseason, and Harvey has done a lot to soil his reputation in the last month of the season, as Davidoff adds in the same article.
“Really, what’s most galling about Harvey’s change of heart — his 180, if you will — is that he led the revolt earlier this season against the Mets’ six-man starting rotation, a plan designed expressly to help manage the innings of Harvey and his fellow youngsters. Don’t hate on Boras for doing his job as player advocate. It’s Harvey who constructed the Tough Guy narrative, only to jettison it in crunch time.”
Rosenthal also sent out tweets regarding the Harvey issue, wondering if Harvey being injured is the cause for his innings suddenly becoming an issue when all indicators, including Harvey himself expressing no worry about it.
Echoing others: Only logical explanation is that Harvey not 100%. We can debate 180 IP. But this should not be coming up now, on Sept. 5.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 5, 2015
If 180 innings was the desired limit by Boras/Harvey, OK. But they should have communicated that to #Mets much sooner.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 5, 2015
Therefore, with all of this drama transpiring at the most inopportune time, could a trading the “high-maintenance personality” of Harvey, as Davidoff puts it make sense?
With pitchers Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jon Niese, and 2016 returnee Zack Wheeler, Harvey suddenly becomes more appealing as a trade chip. Also, with slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes likely not returning to New York, Daniel Murphy a free agent, and more, Harvey could land the Mets a much-needed bat.
Davidoff spitballs a few names that the Mets could seek to acquire if Harvey is made available.
“How about Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez? Or Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford? Or Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain? Or Twins second baseman Brian Dozier? Just spitballing here; the Mets can do the actual legwork. Alderson owns a pretty good track record when it comes to trades.”
The Inquisitr previously reported a rumored trade that was mentioned involving Harvey. The trade would see Harvey traded to Boston in exchange for talented young shortstop Xander Bogaerts. While the trade is far from a being a possibility, such a swap would help out both teams. The Red Sox would have the ace they’ve wanted for years, and the Mets would have a 22-year-old shortstop who can hit, field, and has shown power.
Considering Harvey’s age, lively arm, past success, and three years of control, he could net the Mets a sizable return. Also, with him gone, the Mets may end up having less drama surround their team.
The way the situation currently stands, Harvey has two choices. Devise a plan to pitch and help the Mets down the stretch or sit out long enough to be traded.
[Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]