The Mets and most of their fan base never meant any ill will toward Matt Harvey, and the Mets proved that by trading Harvey to a city where he can pitch in obscurity for the remainder of the season in an attempt to recover a career that went off the tracks some time ago.
Matt Harvey is a Cincinnati Red for the remainder of this season at least. As a parting gift to their wayward son, the Mets traded Harvey and filled a hole along the way by adding 29-year old Devin Mesoraco, an oft-injured catcher with one good season behind him when he made the All-Star team in 2014. More on that part of the deal later, but the light shines on Harvey as it has for nearly all of his six big league seasons.
The Cinncinati Reds are currently outpaced only by the Baltimore Orioles for the worse record in baseball and it is liable to get worse before it gets better. Situated on the Ohio River, Great American Ballpark offers views of riverboats lazily passing by, a scene that Norman Rockwell somehow missed.
There’s no Broadway, no runway models, and you won’t find competing newspapers looking for the latest dirt they can find. On a good night, 18-20,000 fans may find their way to the ballpark. The team itself has one very good player, their third baseman, Eugenio Suarez, and one perennial All-Star player in Joey Votto. The Reds have no pitching to speak of and only one starter with an ERA under 4.00.
The Reds broadcasting team views the addition of Harvey with lukewarm water:
Could the Mets have been any more benevolent to Matt Harvey, effectively putting him in a situation where the song changes from “New York, If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” to “Cincinnati, If you can’t make it here, you can’t make it anywhere”?
As things unfolded, Matt The Brat, the spoiled child, gets what he wants once again. He is now a starting pitcher who the Reds will send out there every day until his arm falls off, if only because they have no one else.
The cup half full, though, says this is a second chance for Matt Harvey to stand on his own in proving that all his critics are wrong. It will be an arduous and weighty chore because according to Mets pitching coach, Dave Eiland, Harvey’s mechanics are totally screwed up and it’s going to be like starting from square one for former pitcher and now the interim pitching coach for the Reds, Danny Darwin.
There was a time when Matt Harvey could roll out of bed and throw a 97 MPH fastball on the outside corner by nature of the talent God gave him. It’s not that way anymore. Not only is Harvey battling physical issues resulting from two major surgeries, but he also qualifies as a legitimate “head case” as a boy in a man’s body who should have grown up some time ago.
All of the pressure should now be gone, at least for the next five months and fifteen or so starts, Matt Harvey can in the old 1960’s vernacular, let it all hang out. Come November, Harvey’s agent, Steve Boras, takes charge and hopefully by then, there’s a new and brighter resume for him to work on. Given all the possibilities a week ago, this should be treated by Harvey as a gift from heaven.
Shifting over to the Mets new catcher, the first thing striking me is the inflated 2018 salary of $13 million attached to Devin Mesoraco, which the Reds somehow found necessary to almost double from 2017 when he played in only 56 games.
We are told there are “cash considerations” in the deal and hopefully, the swing is towards the Mets and not the other way around. In any event, Sandy Alderson finally, I say FINALLY made a move to fill the position.
The team is improved, but not by much. The hitters still have to hit and the pitchers still have to pitch if the Mets have a chance to remain in close contention with the Braves and Phillies now, and ultimately with the Nationals, who are not liable to remain as mediocre as they’ve been to date.
Regardless of play on the field though, the biggest challenge facing Mickey Callaway and the team as a whole is providing some tender loving care for Jacob deGrom.
Regardless of how badly the team needs him now to stop the bleeding, the Mets need to be as certain as they can be (these things aren’t scientific) that deGrom feels 100% and not just 90% before he makes his next start, still scheduled for Sunday against the Phillies.
As a footnote, the Mets dropped another one in extra innings to the lowly Reds by a score of 2-1 this afternoon, lowering the team’s latitude over .500 to only one game. Mama said there’d be days like this. We’ll see how the Mets respond…