Reese Kaplan -- A Dark Night for the Dark Knight?


So the words coming out of con man Sandy Alderson’s mouth had better be a smokescreen because he’s already stated to the press that he is not going after starting pitching, not planning to be aggressive in obtaining relievers, doesn’t have any high value prospects to deal and is once again waiting for the market to come to him.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Apparently his marching orders from the owners are to put a product on the field and they will come...everyone talks about staying away and not fattening the Wilpons’ wallets but they still continue to draw.  When the current front office (and deposed field manager) took over in 2011 they drew 2.379 million fans.  Last year they drew 2.4 million.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

About the only interesting nugget to come out of the Winter Meetings press coverage was the rumor that the Mets already hurting for starting pitching are open to trading Matt Harvey to get one.  In fact, they would prefer to trade Harvey rather than Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman.  Hmmn…on the surface that would hardly seem to make sense, but there are probably $6 million reasons why they expressed that inclination.  The younger duo makes close to major league minimum and Harvey earned $5.125 last year and despite his horrific performance is likely going to become the new $6 million man.

While I often (and justifiably) give both Alderson and the WIlpons a lot of grief for making decisions more about money than about winning, the more I thought about this one, the more I can see how it could make sense.  Hear me out.

Matt Harvey is an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2018. Given both his rocky relationship with the team and his representation by Steve Boras, the likelihood of him returning to the Mets is minimal (even if the Mets could/would pay for it).  Furthermore, after being burned by Neil Walker you’re not going to see many Qualified Offers made to free agents lest they accept them and put the team on the hook for potentially $17.6 million of salary in 2019.  So if you agree he’s a goner, hanging onto him makes little sense.

The question that arises is what’s the best case scenario?  Suppose Matt Harvey rediscovers his mojo and pitches like it was 2012 again.  You’re still in the same boat, facing him walking away for absolutely nothing at year end (without the draft pick compensation which only comes with a QO that the player has turned down).  No, your play here is to trade a Cy Young type of pitcher in July to a team that wants to win and try to restock your upper farm system with highly rated prospects (not middling relievers as was done in the great sell-off of 2017). 

The other option is to get a young, controllable reliever right now in exchange for a guy you’re going to lose anyway.  Furthermore, that hypothetical reliever (let’s call him Alex Colome for the sake of argument) is available at significantly less money and not set to hit free agency until 2021.  Now Tampa is not likely stupid enough to do that deal for Harvey alone (particularly coming off his past two years of ineffectiveness) but that’s the concept in play here.  Find a young bullpen arm who is healthy, productive and inexpensive and let someone else gamble on the final half to one year of Matt Harvey before Boras insists he test the free agency waters. 

As much as I hate to give credit to Sandy Alderson for anything, this one actually seems like a shrewd move assuming you are getting a major league pitcher with 3.50 or less ERA who don’t walk the ballpark, not guys with unsightly WHIPs and high ERAs (but “live arms”).  Colome is a pipe dream but what about a setup guy like Matt Bush of the Texas Rangers?  The Mets have recently turned a blind eye to people with off-the-field issues and the 31 year old Bush is not a free agent until 2023.  In his late start to his MLB career after jail time he has delivered on his promise with a 2-year record of 10-6, 3.08 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 9.4 Ks per 9 IP and he’s done it over a total of 115 games.  If the Rangers (likely losing Yu Darvish) would bite on that deal I’d do it in a heartbeat. 



Anonymous said...

Get whatever you can for him. Wish him luck and send him n his way.

Mack Ade said...

I had a car like Harvey once.

Was a killer when it came out of the showcase... then was involved in an accident and never was the same.

a dealer offered me a great trade in at the end of year for new set of wheels. I took it right away.

Get what you can for this guy.


Anonymous said...

Yeah dump him


Viper said...

I will disagree. Once the Mets gave Harvey a contract, it makes sense to see what he will look like in spring training. Right now if Harvey is not even worth a good reliever, what's the harm in waiting?

If Harvey doesn't show that he can be an effective starter, maybe he will be the reliever the Mets need. But again, once the Mets gave him a contract, that ship sailed.

Sandy (The Genius) best move is to wait and see if another team is willing to offer something of value for him. If not, his value may go up if his velocity is there and he starts throwing his slider effectively.

Reese Kaplan said...

If they wait and he is effective, then they might get something good at the trade deadline. If they wait and he's ineffective, then it's a lose-lose situation. Putting him in the pen might help a bit for 2018 but he's a goner in 2019 anyway, so what's the point? I can see the value in waiting a bit gambling he will improve but I can also see the value in letting someone else take that risk.

Baltimore seems to be the hot rumor right now. I'd take Mychal Givens for him straight up if Baltimore was stupid enough to offer him.

bill metsiac said...

Don't go by what his most recent comments are. His opinions, whether they're smokescreens or not, change more often than his underwear.

It was while he was talking about budget limits that he traded for Yo, and later for Bruce.

Last week he talked about needing someone who could play 1B because Smith was a disappointment and out of shape;a few days later he said he doesn't want to block his chance to be the full-time guy there.

Let's see what he does(n't) do, not what he says.

Reese Kaplan said...

Nice to see you acknowledging our GM is a liar. Welcome to the good fight :)

Viper said...

Then what was the point of giving him a contract in the first place? Once the leap of faith was extended, they have to wait unless a trade that makes sense materializes.

If that trade is for a marginal reliever, you might as well roll the dice and see what he has left.

bill metsiac said...

In the words of Jesus, "those are your words, not mine" 😀

bill metsiac said...

Why is it impossible to consider a different possibility - - - that he likes Callaway, pitches well, and signs an extension either during or after the season?

Not likely, but not impossible.

Mack Ade said...


no religion or politics on Mack's Mets

Reese Kaplan said...

Mychal Givens or Matt Bush are not marginal relievers. They are better than Ramos and at least as good as Blevins.

TexasGusCC said...

...but we are closed for Hannakuh? Enjoy the holiday Mack.

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