Those close to the pitcher are calling it the beginning of the end of Harvey in Queens. But they are guessing. The Mets will be in charge of where Harvey plays for the next 18 months. The Mets’ preference, presumably, is to have Harvey pitch well Friday night in Milwaukee, then again five days later in Arizona, to handle his obligations, and to allow everyone to forget this ever happened.
He apologized to just about anything with a pulse Tuesday afternoon. Yes, he stayed out late Friday night/Saturday morning. Yes, he rallied in time to play golf Saturday morning. No, that probably wasn’t the best use of his time between shifts.
A guy believes he’s acted inappropriately, he says he’s sorry, and that seems a reasonable path toward reconciling with the offended parties. The next gesture would be eight shutout innings against the Brewers so maybe the Mets could inch back into this thing, which is why — oh yeah — they’re all here together to begin with, right? A guy doesn’t believe he’s acted inappropriately, he says he’s sorry anyway, and all the same stuff follows. But anyway.
“I made a mistake,” Harvey said. Should be good enough. Those on the receiving ends of the apologies took them as heartfelt. Good enough.
Like every other franchise, the Mets aren’t in the business of offloading competent starting pitchers, even if it would appear they’re fed up with those pitchers, even if nobody knows better than they do that a guy as a pitcher isn’t as good as his rep or his name or his nickname or whatever you want to call it. He’s also undergone two surgeries. He’s also had his moments of pretty great, some of them in October. The Mets, you may argue, need more of Harvey, not less of him. But, then, you only have to live with him for three hours every five days. If they banged him three days’ pay for a few drinks and a bungled phone call, you can be sure the time around those three hours every five days was starting to annoy them.
So, do the Mets trade Matt Harvey? Maybe. Depends. What’s their record? How far ahead are the Washington Nationals? What’s the rest of the rotation look like? Is it May? Or is it December? How’s he throwing?
I asked around. What’s the view of Matt Harvey? What if he were available? Want him? Yes? No?
General managers, scouts, talent evaluators responded:
“I’d proceed with caution. His regression of ‘stuff’ has now made him ‘human’ again.”
“Buyer beware. Sounds like he has some makeup/commitment issues in the background. From the outside, seems like there are issues that go deeper than his performance. I have only seen him briefly, but have some arm action concerns, especially coming off injuries.”
“I’m just guessing, but we may have already seen the best of him.”
“Stock has fallen. NYM will want past value in exchange. Teams acquiring will be buying low on talent, paying higher than recent ability has shown.”
“Much like the Pirates with [Andrew] McCutchen, Mets will want trade value based on his former talent level, otherwise they get egged in the face publicity-wise.”
“No. 3 starter that is unreliable to eat innings if placed in that role. Velo has regressed to 93 average. Best placed as a No. 4 and cross fingers for more. Breaking pitches have regressed as well.”
That doesn’t sound so promising, but opinions change. They would, too, if Harvey pitched well for a month or two, if he stayed off Page Six for a few weeks, if the stuff returns as he gets farther from surgery. All of which could happen. And it might not. Which is to say, it’s all far from over, and we can’t expect to know everything today.
*** WHAT ELSE:
Sorting out the Baltimore Orioles: eighth in the American League in team ERA, ninth in starters’ ERA, 14th in starters’ innings, seventh in runs scored, 13th in stolen bases, Zach Britton on the disabled list, 21-10 record. So there you go.
Those three San Diego Padres Rule 5 guys? Well, they’re surviving. Miguel Diaz, the 22-year-old righty, has a 9.98 ERA in 15 appearances. Luis Torrens, the 21-year-old catcher, has one hit in 15 at-bats. Allen Cordoba, the 21-year-old shortstop/second baseman/outfielder, is hitting .231 in 24 games. Baseball’s hard, man. None played above A-ball until six weeks ago.
It’s the way of the world anymore, but the Reds’ demotion of Amir Garrett — their best starter, when they are a surprising contender in the NL Central — for the benefit of innings (and, maybe, service time) preservation, is wholly disappointing. They’re playing to win a future that may never come.
Baseball’s hard, man, Part II:
Trevor Story through May 8, 2016: .272/.338/.624
Trevor Story through May 8, 2017: .173/.283/.404
The San Francisco Giants, who were 11-22, and had been throttled in Cincinnati, and were playing without their starting shortstop and at times without their starting catcher and various other guys, and who even lost their manager for a bit, and then had their team bus break down, and laughed and wondered what else could possible happen? Well, careful about that. Mark Melancon has a strain in his forearm up near the elbow and the new closer is going to be Derek Law or Hunter Strickland.
A bunch of possibilities for good ball this weekend. There are four-gamers, beginning Thursday: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies. There are three-gamers, beginning Friday: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians.
The probables in the Bronx:
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