The Mets on Friday said they will designate Matt Harvey for assignment after the struggling former All-Star refused a demotion to the minors. It is a stunning end to what was supposed to be a glorious Mets career.
“I think we’ve tried to find some other solution over a fairly long period of time,” Sandy Alderson said. “This was a long time coming. It’s something we tried to address, we struggled with, and we wrestled with over two managerial regimes. The move to the bullpen was dramatic in itself. I think at this point, pragmatism and realism far outweighed other considerations.”
Between the bullpen and the rotation, Harvey has pitched to a 7.00 ERA this season. Not going down to the minors to work on his stuff was apparently the last straw.
“Matt’s gone through two serious and career-threatening injuries, and he made every effort to return to a championship level,” Alderson said. “Obviously, there were challenges along the way for him and for us. But those challenges were always worth meeting, not just because of his ability. Matt is an appealing, likeable and vulnerable individual. In spite of the issues, I really like Matt. We’re going to miss him, in many ways.”
It seems like yesterday that Matt Harvey was the talk of New York. He followed up a 10-appearance rookie season in 2012 in which he had a 2.73 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings with a spectacular 2013. He started the All-Star game at Citi Field and had a 2.27 ERA before he went down with Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2014 but came back strong the next year, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA. But there was the World Series debacle and then thoracic outlet surgery and Harvey was never the same. Not to mention the off-field distractions.
“It became evident to Dave (Eiland) and myself that him getting to where he needed to be out of the bullpen probably wasn’t something that was realistic,” Mickey Callaway said. “I thought the route that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee took when they went all the way down to ‘A’ ball and kind of rebuilt themselves after 60-70 games in the big leagues was probably a more appropriate route to help Matt Harvey the best we could.
“It’s tough for both of us. We feel like we failed Matt Harvey. I think our job is to help every player, and it’s not a good feeling when you can’t.”
No one is going to pick up Harvey at what is left of his $5.625 million salary, so the Mets now have seven days to either trade Harvey (which won’t happen) or release him so he becomes a free agent. Someone will take a flyer on Harvey at the major league minimum to see if they can fix him. If not, he will go down as one of the great flameouts in baseball history. So sad.