Aug 06

Harvey Recalls Good, Bad And Ugly

In the end, Matt Harvey finally relented and spoke to the New York media – the group that built him up to folk hero status, but in his eyes lived to torment him – in his return to Citi Field Monday afternoon.

HARVEY: In the beginning.  (MLB)

HARVEY: In the beginning. (MLB)

After threatening not to speak with the press, Harvey, perhaps convinced by his agent Scott Boras, to do the right thing or have everything bad about his stay with the Mets dredged up all this week, gave in and talked about what was and what could have been.

As he recalled both the good and bad times of being both a fictional superhero and a prima donna, there were no regrets, no “do-overs,’’ and certainly no apologies.

But, there was an admission of mistakes.

In describing what went wrong with the Mets, Harvey always brought it back to his injuries. Unquestionably, they derailed his career. What was supposed to be a career of Cy Young Awards, no-hitters and World Series wins has turned out to be a 39-42 lifetime record and season-ending trips to the disabled list in four (including missing all of 2014) of his six partially controversial drenched seasons with the Mets.

“I kind of put myself in a bad position,” Harvey said. “Health was the biggest thing. Being as competitive as I am, and as all these guys are, when the injuries took a toll on me, and I wasn’t able to do my job the way I wanted to, I made a lot of mistakes. That was something I’ve definitely looked back on, and I wouldn’t say regret. People make mistakes, and I definitely made a lot of them.”

Harvey has gone through deep introspection since the trade that brought him to Cincinnati for Devin Mesoraco, and suggested the mistakes that made him back-page fodder for the tabloids stemmed from basic psychology of the need to be recognized.

“You realize that you don’t want to fail,” Harvey said. “I definitely didn’t. I never wanted to fail, especially when I spent my time here. The success that I had, I didn’t want to let anybody down — family, friends. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I put a lot of pressure on getting back to perfection. Kind of the way the 2013 season, the ’15 season, all those great games that I threw, I put a lot of pressure on making sure that that happened every time. And obviously, it couldn’t. It was tough. Mentally, it was very tough.”

Harvey will be a free-agent after this season, and while it’s possible he could still end up with the Yankees, which has been heavily speculated since he let it be known that was his childhood team. The Reds did not trade Harvey at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but he said he would welcome a deal before the end of the month to a contender.

“I do want everybody to know I do regret a lot of mistakes I made,’’ Harvey said. “But I did put my heart into this organization, as I will with future teams, and this team that I’m on now. I really enjoyed every minute here.”

May 16

Keith Tried To Help Harvey

Speaking on WFAN Wednesday morning, Keith Hernandez said he spoke with Matt Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, in an attempt to reign in the former Met’s behavior.

mets-matters logo“I called Scott, I said, ‘Scott, you gotta pull the reins on this guy, because he’s gonna make it tough on himself,’ ” said Hernandez. “He goes, ‘Keith, I can’t, he’s gonna do — he’s his own guy — he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do.’

“He made a lot of enemies.  He was confrontational with Sandy — with Sandy Alderson. They had a tough relationship. Matt was arrogant and, you know what, you meet the same people on the way up, you meet ’em on the way down, too.’’

It was a nice effort by Hernandez, but Boras was right, Harvey was going to do what he wanted, whenever he wanted.

That’s why he’s an ex-Met.

Cespedes Goes On DL: The Mets finally did what they should have done a week ago, which was place Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled week.

“The decision was pretty clear that we needed to get him on the DL, and get him back to where he needs to be,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “He was improving while he was playing, and that kind of stopped. So, let’s take a different route and make sure we’re cautious with him and get him back to the Cespedes he can be sooner.

“It’s like any injury. Nobody can predict that. The information I have is that we can get this resolved with some rest. He could’ve continued to gut it out, and continued to play. We were hoping with the off-days, and things like that, the progression of it would be where at some point maybe this would go away while he was playing.’’

Wheeler Rocked: Zack Wheeler’s pattern of following a respectable start with a stinker continued in today’s 12-1 loss. In his worst start of the season, Wheeler gave up six earned runs in four-plus innings.

“It’s tough, because you do see both sides, how brilliant he can be and you see how things can unravel at times,’’ Callaway said.

Wheeler was sharp for the first three innings, but unraveled following an 18-minute delay with the Mets batting in the third, as the grounds crew spread drying agent on the soaked field.

 

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.

Feb 28

What Is Best Case Scenario For Mets And Harvey?

Matt Harvey gets the ball today against the Braves for the first time this spring with little expectations. The only hope I have is for him to leave the mound without any health questions.

HARVEY: Makes first start today. (AP)

HARVEY: Makes first start today. (AP)

After all, if he strikes out the side twice, what will it matter? And, if he gets rocked, that won’t matter, either. Just throw the damn ball and hope for the best.

For the first time since he’s been a Met there aren’t any questions about his health or whether he should be given a long-term contract.

Barring something unforeseen, I don’t see Harvey signing a long-term extension after this season. I don’t recall any time when Harvey said, “I want to stay with the Mets.’’

Injuries, poor performance and diva tendencies have marked – and marred – Harvey’s career and turned him from future, shining star to a Supernova for the first half of 2013.

The best-case scenario for Harvey is for him to pitch well and for some over-eager or desperate team will offer him a ridiculous contract. It does happen, but if Jake Arrieta remains unsigned how does that bode well for Harvey?

His agent, Scott Boras, has the reputation of holding out for the best deal. Perhaps if Harvey pitches well, Boras might switch gears and sign a one-year deal or accept a qualifying offer in hope of getting a better offer after the 2019 season.

That might be the Mets’ best hope of retaining Harvey. If that doesn’t happen, their best chance of getting something for him is for him to pitch well and deal him at the deadline.

But, if Harvey is healthy, pitching lights out and the Mets are a contender, they should keep him and go for the brass ring.

That’s the best case scenario for both parties.

Jul 14

Top Ten Mets’ Questions In Second Half

The Mets are home tonight for the start of a ten-game homestand that will determine the course of what is becoming a lost season.

While there’s little hope other than mathematics that they will be able to make a playoff push, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant questions that must be answered that could determine the direction of this franchise for years:

ALDERSON: Facing a lot of questions. (AP)

ALDERSON: Facing a lot of questions. (AP)

  1. Will they be buyers or sellers at the deadline?

A: The Mets can’t advertise that they are giving up on the year before their longest homestand of the season. Their two most valuable commodities are closer Addison Reed and outfielder Jay Bruce, both of whom will be free agents this winter. This would make them rentals to any team dealing with the Mets.

Other assets who would command less are Curtis Granderson, Jerry Blevins, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes.

2. Will we see Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith?

A: That was one of the prevailing first-half questions. GM Sandy Alderson insists they aren’t ready, when in reality he was just waiting out the market. Rosario would mean the end of Reyes and Cabrera – assuming they aren’t dealt – and Smith would likely determine Duda’s future.

3. Will Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey pitch again this season?

A: Harvey has already begun throwing and Syndergaard is two weeks from starting, but neither have a definitive timetable to return. Syndergaard has a partially torn lat muscle and the Mets want to know what they have moving forward. Syndergaard likewise wants to know where he is physically, which would dictate his offseason conditioning and throwing program. Hopefully, this winter he won’t hit the weights too much.

As for Harvey, it could very well be his real value to the Mets is as trade bait. I have written numerous times Harvey is just biding his time before he’s a free agent after the 2018 season. He hinted as much in 2015 when his agent Scott Boras brought up Harvey’s innings ceiling. The Mets can explore trading Harvey now or they can hope he comes back strong in the second half and the first half in 2018 before shopping him next year. Either way, his time with the Mets is numbered.

4. Will Yoenis Cespedes stay healthy and become the hitter the Mets are paying all that money to?

A: He’s strong, but muscle bound, which makes him susceptible to muscle pulls. Watching Cespedes run, whether on the bases or in the outfield, and you have to think it is a matter of time before he’s hobbling again.

5. Will manager Terry Collins finally give the Mets’ All-Star, Michael Conforto enough playing time?

A: Assuming Bruce and Granderson aren’t traded, then Collins must either bench the latter or devise a playing rotation for the four.

6. Will Collins do the same for Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera?

A: Neither Flores nor Rivera are the physical prototypes Alderson craves, but they produce despite not having a designated position. Both can play anywhere in the infield save shortstop.

7. Speaking of infielders, what will happen with Neil Walker?

A: It wasn’t a bad gamble to give Walker a $17.2 million qualifying offer. After all, it was for only one year and the Mets believed they were competitors. Walker wants a multi-year deal, which the Mets would be foolish to give him, especially with the money owed Cespedes and David Wright.

8. Will we see Wright?

A: The Mets don’t have a timetable for Wright’s return following his back surgery. Thinking positively, if Wright could come back and play well, it could make the Mets’ offseason plans a bit smoother. If he doesn’t come back, will he retire?

9. What is Collins’ future with the Mets?

A: The major league’s oldest manager is in his last year with the Mets. He could retire, but after this season, the Mets could decide not to bring him back. There remains the question of whether he would want to return.

10. What is Alderson’s future with the Mets?

A:  He’ll be 70 this winter and you have to wonder how much longer he wants to do this, especially if the Mets opt to rebuild. The young, vaunted pitching staff has not made one uninterrupted cycle through the rotation together and there’s no guarantee it ever will. There is a multitude of other issues with the Mets and maybe Alderson doesn’t want to go the building process again.