Apr 25

Harvey Shows True Colors Again

Yesterday I wrote the transition to the bullpen for Matt Harvey could work if the temperamental pitcher has the right mindset. His postgame reaction after last night – even though the Mets won – indicates he has a long way to go before that’s the case.

Harvey should be smart enough to realize reporters would want to talk to him after his first relief appearance, and it didn’t matter if he gave up a run or not.

“No chance, zero chance,” Harvey said when approached by reporters. “I have nothing to say to you guys.”

The ever-classy Harvey then cursed at the group when asked why he didn’t want to answer questions, saying because, “I don’t f—ing want to.’’

Would it have been that difficult for Harvey to spend five minutes with reporters, who for the most part, have given him every benefit of the doubt during his largely disappointing Mets’ career?

Manager Mickey Callaway, who has stressed accountability, weakly gave Harvey a pass.

“We really can’t do anything about that, I think it’s his right as a player,” said. “The rules are such, kinda like when we have days off we can’t make them come in and work out.”

That’s not exactly true. The standard player contract requires players to “cooperate’’ with the press. However, that relationship has never been more confrontational than it is these days.

If Harvey is as intelligent as he thinks himself to be he should know that acting like a jerk works against you in the long run. He certainly can’t be getting support in his own clubhouse, as players who do cooperate are put in the uncomfortable position of having to answer questions about Harvey.

Just like when Harvey blew off a game and showed up late for a playoff workout, it is the epitome of selfishness.

We know Harvey is gone after this season and it looks as if he’s getting a head start to burn his bridges.

The irony of it all is that if Harvey pitches adequately, he could find himself back into the rotation as Steven Matz has shelled again tonight in the Mets’ 9-1 loss in St. Louis.

Apr 24

It’s Up To Harvey If Bullpen Works

Dave Righetti did it. So did Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz. Now, can Matt Harvey make the transition from the rotation to the bullpen? Harvey’s initial response – that he’s pissed off – wasn’t a positive sign, but his subsequent comments are more encouraging.

HARVEY: It's up to him.. (AP)

HARVEY: It’s up to him.. (AP)

Harvey, who will be available coming out of the bullpen starting Tuesday, was not happy about the decision.

“It’s the decision that they made,’’ Harvey told reporters. “I have to suck it up and go out there and do everything I can to get things back in gear. I don’t have to agree with it, but I have to go out there and do the best I can to get things going and do everything I can to help this team get back to where I believe I can help this team, and that’s as a starter.’’

Whether he makes it back as a starter remains to be seen, and actually is irrelevant. If Harvey concentrates solely on being a reliever, long or short, it might enhance his value this offseason.

The way the market was last year, relievers were signed earliest and that hold true next winter, as well.

Harvey doesn’t throw as hard as he used to – he’s gone from 96.5 mph., in 2015 to 92.6 mph., this season, which is acceptable for the pen, as long as the pitcher has secondary pitches, which he does.

Former Mets GM Jim Duquette, currently a commentator for SNY, said it is common when a starter moves to the pen that his velocity will increase. And, Harvey has a good enough slider. By all accounts, Harvey has the physical tools and his problem is psychological.

If the Mets concentrate on starting Harvey at the beginning of an inning and limit him getting up and down, he should get the appropriate warm-up time.

Physically, Harvey can do this. If he has the proper attitude and meets with success, this could be the start of the second part of his career. Others have done it, such as Cleveland’s Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer [so Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland] have the experience in helping pitchers make the transition].

If Harvey stops thinking about starting and concentrates on being the best reliever possible, it could work. It’s up to him.

Apr 22

Harvey “Pissed Off” At Bullpen Demotion. Suck It Up, Big Boy

Matt Harvey said he’s “pissed off” at losing his spot in the rotation and having to go to the bullpen. Well, guess what, I’m sure many of Harvey’s teammates and coaches, not to mention his former manager Terry Collins, and countless Mets’ fans, are pissed off from having to Harvey’s selfishness and wasted talents over the past few years.

I understand injuries, but enough is enough. Harvey has been demoted from the rotation – honestly, I didn’t think manager Mickey Callaway would to it. But, even in bumping him from the rotation the Mets made it a point to say this was not punishment, but a temporary move.

“I want to make it clear: This is less about making Matt a reliever and more about getting him back to being a productive starter,” assistant general manager John Ricco said. “Honestly, one of the reasons we brought in Mickey and [pitching coach] Dave Eiland were for their knowledge and expertise in this area. We have a lot of faith and confidence in what they’re able to do.”

Harvey was full of praise for Callaway when he was first hired, but now when the first-year manager makes a move against him, he’s full of the same old “me first’’ attitude that has highlighted his 34-37, injury-marred, controversial career.

Sure, Harvey can’t be happy with how his career has unraveled, but it’s up to him to suck it up, not talk about being pissed off at the Mets and his situation.

Why was this even a big deal? If he was a real team guy, when this started boiling over he should have gone to Callaway and said, “I suck. What do you want me to do?’’

Of course, him saying he has to “do whatever I have to do to get back in the starting rotation,’’ just illustrates how little interest he has in helping the Mets.

Typical Harvey and I’m counting the days until he’s gone.

Apr 21

Harvey Should Get Another Start, Then What?

The Mets should know more about their options on what to do with Matt Harvey after Jason Vargas is re-examined later today. Barring no setbacks, Vargas will then pitch in a Minor League rehab start Monday.

HARVEY: What options does he have remaining.  (AP)

HARVEY: What options does he have remaining. (AP)

With Harvey’s next start scheduled for Tuesday in St. Louis it stands to reason he’ll make at least one more start before Mickey Callaway makes the most important decision since becoming the manager.

There will eventually be a messy divorce with Harvey, but it’s up to Callaway to determine when the papers are filed.

Since Harvey’s contractual status allows him to block a move to the minors, the only way for it to happen is for him to have a drastic change of heart. If he doesn’t, the Mets’ options are to invent a phantom injury so they can place him on the 10-day disabled list. They could also work him out of the bullpen, but he clearly won’t have his heart in it.

Finally, the Mets can attempt to trade him, but considering Harvey’s performance and injury history since the end of the 2015 season, his value is limited. Of course, in the end, they could simply release him, but things would have deteriorated beyond recognition if that occurred.

I gave up on the pipe dream of Harvey turning his career around and re-signing with the Mets in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. I’m a proponent of Harvey getting at least one more start because that is the only way the Mets can salvage anything from this fractured relationship.

No doubt, Harvey has spoken with his agent Scott Boras, whose advice should be is to do whatever the Mets want him to do. That’s the only way for Harvey to maximize whatever value he has remaining.

Apr 20

Harvey Defiant After Loss

The memo to Matt Harvey is an old one: Just shut up and pitch.

The question to Mickey Callaway was an obvious one: Will Harvey make his next start?

“We haven’t made that determination yet,” Callaway said after the Braves hit Harvey for six runs in six innings. “We’ll see moving forward. I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”

There was no reason for Callaway to say anything else. Harvey lost again in giving up six runs to the Braves. His ERA is over six. However, and this is what will probably keep him in the rotation for now, is that he retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

If Callaway is a proponent on his pitchers leaving a game on a high note, that was a big positive, something Harvey can build on. Because of that, Harvey should stay in the rotation for now.

Also a positive, was Harvey’s defiance to the obvious question: “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher. That’s my mindset.”

What? Did you expect him to say he wasn’t, that he should be taken out of the rotation, or sent down?

Of course not, although Thursday night was his first start out of his last 13 that he went longer than six innings.

“That last three innings I think I was able to break through that mental block I was feeling every time I went out there,” Harvey said. “I know that the results aren’t there. I feel bad that it took me so long to figure it out.”

Except, he hasn’t figured it out … at least not yet. Thursday was one bad game, and it is a testament to Callaway that he left Harvey in long enough to leave the game on a positive note.

I don’t know if Harvey will ever totally figure it out and return to 2013 form when he was on the top of his game. I’ve been writing for years that I believe Harvey will leave the Mets after this season.

I still think that. I don’t ever see Harvey becoming a star again, but if anybody has a chance to figure it out, it is Callaway.