Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mets' Matt Harvey is Now Broadway Schmo

Here is my article on Matt Harvey that also appeared in Mets on Scout.

Matt Harvey always wanted to be considered the Dark Knight of New York. The man who would be the face and ace of the pitching staff of the New York Mets, would collect multiple All-Star games, championships, Cy Young Awards, and millions of dollars. After a stellar first year in 2013, Harvey seemed destined for stardom.

But now, on this day in May of 2017, Matt Harvey is no longer the Dark Knight. He’s not the “Broadway Joe” of baseball. He’s simply “Broadway Schmo.”

Beginning Sunday, the Mets suspended Harvey three games for violating team policy. In spite of early rumors that the suspension may have had something to do with a locker room prank, it was rather Harvey’s own insubordination.

According to multiple sources, Harvey was out golfing Saturday, suffered a migraine headache and decided not to show up at Citi Field. When he returned to Citi Field Sunday, the Mets finally put him in his place by suspending him without pay.

The Mets had enough with Harvey and his antics, and who can blame them?

The history of bad feeling between two parties reaches back years.  Remember when Harvey refused to heed Sandy Alderson’s word not to come back too soon after recovering from Tommy John Surgery?  Or the time when Harvey’s agent, Scott Boros, challenged the Mets on his pitcher’s innings limit?

But being late to the ballpark is nothing new for Harvey. In 2015, he skipped out on a Mets practice before the start of the NL Division series against the Dodgers. The Mets tried to let it pass.

Then during the World Series, he pushed Terry Collins into leaving him in far too long against the Royals in Game 5. Harvey imploded in the ninth inning, blew a 2-0 lead, and the Mets watched the Royals celebrate a world championship.

Now there is this! Harvey didn’t merely disobey his manager and general manager; he let his team down. Without Harvey, the Mets had no choice but to call up Adam Wilk who just got off a plane from Triple-A, Las Vegas. The result was a 7-0 defeat to Miami.

In a baseball locker room, each player has a responsibility to his teammates. That is the bond created over months and years playing together. But, Harvey’s antics leave one to question Harvey’s passion for the game and his teammates.

His migraine excuse from a golf outing is dubious at best. There is likely more to that story, but only one person knows the truth.  

What Harvey fails to understand is his career has arrived at a crossroads. He is not the Dark Knight any longer, not when he is 6-12 with a 4.93 ERA over the last two seasons combined.  Certainly not when he has a 5.14 ERA coming into his scheduled start on Sunday.  The Mets have no reason to allow Harvey walk all over them as he has in the past.

For that reason, the Mets and Harvey move almost certain toward a break-up. The only question is when? Harvey’s has a contract runs through the 2018 season; you can bet the Mets will try to trade him well before then in order to acquire some players in return. The Mets will not let Harvey walk away as a free agent. The problem is who is going to want him now?

Nobody wants a 29-year old angry, pompous pitcher, who was once really good. Yet his bad performances the last two years, the injuries, and his behavior have taken a machete to Harvey’s trade value. So for those fans thinking the Mets could trade him come July 31, fergedaboutit!

The Mets have to hope that Harvey returns after this suspension humbled, (fat chance) and starts emulating the pitcher he once was (fat chance redux). If he gives the Mets 13 or14 wins and lowers his ERA near 3, maybe, just maybe, Harvey will increase his value enough for the Mets to ship him out of town come the GM Meetings before Christmas.

Ridding themselves of Harvey in the off-season will allow Sandy Alderson to invest in long term deals with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, and permits this team to find a right-handed batter with pop, if they don’t find one in the middle of the season.

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