Mike Friere - Did Matt Harvey Pull A Fast One?


As I alluded to in an earlier article, I am not (usually) a conspiracy theorist and most of the time a coincidence is just a coincidence.  However, sometimes what may appear to be a coincidence might actually be evidence of a series of ulterior motive or even the outcome of a sinister plot!  As exciting as that last sentence may sound, what I am about to propose is probably equal parts coincidence and petulance, as opposed to a full blown plot.

OK, so enough shucking and jiving, right?  

As any Met fan that is even partially invested in the team’s performance can tell you, the Matt Harvey story is an old school tragedy.  Matt started out as a high draft pick (7th overall) in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina (stinking Tar Heels).  He subsequently zipped through several minor league levels before making his Mets debut in the middle of the 2012 season.   

From his debut through the end of the 2013 season, Matt was simply spectacular which earned him the nickname “The Dark Knight”, while posting the following statistics;

36 Starts:

237.67 Innings Pitched
2.39 ERA
0.98 WHIP (insane)

In true Mets’ fashion, the calliope crashed to the ground and Matt missed all of the 2014 season due to injury, as well as portions of several seasons since that time.   In the time since the injuries interfered with his unbelievable start, Matt has produced the following statistics;

68 Starts (plus a few well publicized innings out of the bullpen):

401.67 Innings Pitched
4.42 ERA
1.32 WHIP (not so good)

What was not captured in the listed statistics was Matt’s rumored “party lifestyle” and perhaps a lack of dedication to his personal wellness and his craft as a professional baseball player.  I am not a member of the team, nor do I spend time in the clubhouse but there were pretty steady rumblings about this issue and how Matt needed to realign his priorities (not to mention that he was a Yankees fan growing up).  

When you compare the heightened expectations that were developed after his blazing start to what he Matt was producing on the field after his return from injury, it is understandable that everyone involved was underwhelmed and a bit disappointed.  Combine that with the aforementioned perception that he was more interested in partying then he was in getting back to his pre-injury form and you have a ticking time bomb.  The subsequent move to the bullpen, along with his poor attitude afterward and you end up dealing a broken “ace” for another team’s fallen star.

Flash forward to Matt’s first start with his new ball club (Cincinnati) this past Friday in Los Angeles against a pretty good Dodgers lineup.  You would expect a bit of a rough start (new team, tough opponent and a bit of a layoff after the trade), yet Matt put together a pretty solid four innings that included only one hit (triple on a call that should have been caught), NO WALKS and a couple of strike outs.   So what gives?   Granted four adrenaline fueled innings does not mean that much in the grand scheme of things, but it was most certainly NOT a rough start.

I am not stating that Matt faked anything during his tenure and I do believe that the injuries he suffered robbed him of his dominant “stuff”.  However, I also think that he contributed to his recent drop in performance with a lack of overall focus, along with the stress of his impending free agency in 2019.

I will close with a few questions for all of you to ponder;

1.  Was Matt “tanking” it towards the end of his Mets’ tenure in order to get traded to a team that would allow him to start again?

2.  If so, do you think Scott Boras had anything to do with it considering how much money is at stake in 2019 and beyond?

3.  If not, do you think all of this is just coincidental?

4. Lastly, how do you think Matt’s career will play out from this point forward?


Mack Ade said...

We all know that pitching is 50% mental.

Harvey was not a Met in his own mind for a long time before the team cut fish.

His first outing for Cincy is probably all adrenaline. Let us revisit this 3-4 starts from now.

Reese Kaplan said...

Nice Manfred Mann reference...

I think he is actually pretty foolish for not embracing the relief role as he could then be marketed either way next year.

As far as tanking, hmmn...interesting notion. Could that he is taking inspiration from someone else notable who thinks if he does and says enough crazy shit someone will eventually call him on it and put him out of his misery...

Thomas Brennan said...

Harvey looks like a TANK commander to me.

Now that the divorce is complete, he can flirt with the Yanks

Mike Freire said...

With the relationship over, I guess it really doesn't matter as far as the Mets are concerned. But, if there is any truth to the assertion, then is speaks volumes about Harvey's character (or lack thereof).

I also don't trust Scott Boras, at all (but that's a different story).

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