Matt Harvey may soon be facing a test of will as he weighs an option to pitch in South Korea. But is a bird in the hand always worth two in the bush?
Matt Harvey, we are learning from several reports, is interested in exploring a chance to pitch this year for a team in South Korea.
Several hurdles stand in the way of anything firm, the least of which is not Matt Harvey’s test of will to relocate to foreign country 10,000 miles off the coast of the United States.
There is also the matter, theorized but never really tested, of how badly Harvey is motivated to do whatever it takes to work and earn his way back to a position on a major league roster.
At the moment, there appear to be no takers among the 30 big-league teams, but that could change if and when the 2020 season gets underway.
The opportunity (also a gamble) for Matt Harvey is to land a job on what is being called the “Taxi Squad” each team will have due to the cancellation of the entire minor league season.
The Taxi Squad will consist of five or six players who will be available for immediate “call-up” to the big club in the event a player goes down, and a replacement is needed.
Matt Harvey: South Korea Stumbleblocks
The road to South Korea is not an easy one to navigate. Matt Harvey, or any other player, would need to undergo a 14-day quarantine once arriving in the Asian country.
South Korean teams have been playing regular-season games since May 5, and Harvey would then need a minimum two-week Spring Training of sorts.
The total time expended becomes a full month if Harvey signed today and hopped a flight tomorrow.
Additionally, each team is allowed three foreign players, and only two of them can be pitchers. For nearly all clubs, those roster spots are currently filled.
Generally, Japan is a more popular destination for American ballplayers than South Korea. Perhaps, having a madman a few miles north factors in.
Rarely does a high-caliber former star venture into the foreign big leagues. Matt Harvey would stand alone with the likes of former Mets Chris Flexen, Drew Gagnon, and Aaron Altherr, all currently playing in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).
Sorting Through The Fog
These pages have followed the story of Matt Harvey – the good, the bad, and the ugly for the past several years. Search the pages of Reflections On Baseball and no one with the possible exception of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has garnered more attention.
Matt Harvey answers only to Matt Harvey. He is still a bachelor with no children to provide for.
Some will say this independence has proved to be the bane and the reason why Harvey finds himself where he is today – on the outside looking in.
Therefore, his best chance to find a brand new start is not to hook up with a major league team here where the air is familiar but to uproot completely.
The trouble there, however, is out of sight is out of mind. With American teams cutting way back, especially in their scouting department, Matt Harvey will easily fall off the radar of even the wealthiest clubs in America.
Matt Harvey And The Proverbial Fork In The Road
Harvey continues to draw our interest partly because he is so much like us. Two-and-a-half million formerly unemployed Americans found work last week, unexpected but welcome news.
We’ll have the numbers soon, but we can expect a good portion did not return to the job they held before COVID-19 hit. And that a good number took jobs in other parts of their State, and even in another state.
And further, that a substantial percentage took on a job at less pay and fewer benefits than the one they held before.
How much of that experience resonates with the one Matt Harvey has and still is, facing?
I suggest all of it, except he’s still “Matt Harvey,” with a spotlight shining to see how the next chapter will be written.
In the next few days, we’ll see if the South Korea story has “legs,” with an ability to develop into something more than a story.
My humble opinion says to Matt Harvey – Don’t move, stay close, call the office of Scott Boras every day, making him work for you. Hang tight, just like the remaining 35 million Americans out of a job and seeking work.