Reese Kaplan -- On Matt Harvey and Dodger Needs


Well, fresh off my endorsement of Matt Harvey’s new role in the bullpen then the story comes out that perhaps his issues on Friday night were a result of his attendance late night at the new LA star-studded nightclub Avra.  Lost among the celebrities in attendance, the fallen-from-grace Harvey was relatively anonymous.  Unfortunately he wasn’t quite incognito enough as the NY Post and other sources cited his appearance there, venturing to say he was, "out at the Avra opening stumbling around." Another witness volunteered that Harvey "had to sit down at one point. He must have been so desperate to party, he came up from San Diego."

If this was but a single incident with the embattled pitcher, it was almost a year ago to the day when in early May of 2017 he was suspended for drinking in the Hamptons until 4:00 AM and then not showing up at the ballpark.  Apparently that incident traced back to him seeing former flame supermodel Adriana Lima out on the town with her former beau Julian Edelman. 

We’ve all done dumb stuff when jilted so I was willing to give him benefit of the doubt for the 2017 episode, but this latest one is not as easy to swallow.  Everyone knows based upon his expletive-filled tirade to reporters after being banished to the bullpen that he was not a happy camper.  People who get irritated about something sometimes go to the bar to down several adult beverages to try to cope.  However, when your body is your livelihood and you’ve created an adversarial relationship with the media and your employer, perhaps traveling nearly 2 hours up the coast to stay out late before a game day (with or without excessive drinking) was not the smartest thing to do.

Maybe instead of modeling his career after Tom Seaver he instead is modeling it after Doc Gooden, Steve Howe and others who let their personal demons get in the way of their professional success.  Again, I would think that the free-agent-to-be’s agent would be whispering in his ear about the millions he’s costing himself with his behavior.  But hey, what do I know?

Word came out Monday night that the Los Angeles Dodgers' young and gifted All-Star shortstop Corey Seager is gone for the year after having to go under the knife for Tommy John Surgery.  For the folks who think of the Mets as the ones snakebitten by injuries, the fact is that losing a talent like Seager is a much bigger blow than the combined Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki, Anthony Swarzak, T.J. Rivera and Rafael Montero.  (And before anyone tries to draw a parallel to David Wright, get real.  He hasn’t been a viable option in many years, not having logged more than extended DL stints since 2014 and not having had a star quality year since 2012.) 

It’s an interesting question to ponder but sometimes another man’s problems can be your solution.  Early rumors are that outfielder Chris Taylor will move back to his former position of shortstop to take the place of Seager.  If he can replicate his 2017 breakthrough season during which he provided .288/21/72 and 17 SBs in 140 games.  Seager gave .295/22/77 with 4 SBs, so a repeat performance from Taylor would take a lot of the sting out of the loss. 

That then creates a vacancy in the outfield and the Dodgers do have some young ballplayers to try to fill the void.  After all, it was an injury last year that opened the door to Cody Bellinger but you don’t catch lightning in the bottle all that often. 

So, if you’re Sandy Alderson on the right coast and Farhan Zaidi on the left coast, is it worth having a conversation?  After all, the Mets have some outfield options that might be appealing and the Dodgers are somewhat deep in the catcher position.  Right now there are not enough ABs to go around for Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares.  The preference would likely be to trade Lagares but his early offensive exploits are not indicative of what he has been capable of doing.  Would you trade quality backup for quality backup, offering an even up swap of Lagares for catcher Austin Barnes?  In his part-time role over four seasons with the Dodgers he’s amassed 321 ABs, hitting .255 with 8 HRs and 43 RBIs.  While those numbers don’t knock your socks off, they are indeed far superior to what the current duo can provide.  He earns just over major league minimum and is controllable for a few years whereas the $6.5 million Lagares is set to earn $9 million next year.  If I had to sweeten the deal with a low level pitching prospect I would do it.  Would you?


Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, if it was me making the decision, I'd do that Dodgers deal.

You mention David Wright - I think in his last healthy game, Ty Cobb spiked him at 3rd base - at least it seems that long.

Mack Ade said...

3B David Thompson - broken hand

TexasGusCC said...

On Matt Harvey, I read that article yesterday and there was another eye witness that said Matt was definitely sober.

On the trade, trade them Jay Bruce and his .220 leadership. But, Austin Barnes sounds nice.

Mack Ade said...

a phone call would not hurt

offer Cecchini for either:

SP Walker Buehler

C Keibert Ruiz

RHP Mitchell White

C Will Smith

Mike Freire said...

Boy, Harvey cannot get out of his own way, it seems. While it is the media's job these days to print sensational/emotional stories (i.e. click bait), traveling from San Diego to Los Angeles for a "night out" seems like a poor decision.

Especially after his recent history, well documented in Reese's article.

Sober or not, it isn't a good look and I think it is indicative of who he is and where he is mentally (checked out). It's a shame, really.....he still has the talent to be successful, but you have to wonder if he has the desire and work ethic?

As to your other question, I would deal Lagares and a lower level prospect for Austin Barnes, ASAP.

We can't use the current catching tandem for the long haul and continue to get away with it, IMO.

bill metsiac said...

We are not going to use the current catcher tandem in the "long run" Plawecki will be back relatively soon and platoon with Lobaton.

Thomas Brennan said...

Plawecki in about 2 weeks per Alderson.

Anonymous said...

its not like plaweki is coming back as piazza. That tandem is awful. The team has too many automatic outs to be a playoff team

Reese Kaplan said...

Anonymous beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing -- that the Mets in expecting Plawecki to handle the void is kind of like going for Jason Vargas while Jake Arrieta was still out there for the taking. Always taking the half measures instead of truly going for it.

Anonymous said...

We don't need another Mike Piazza or Gary Carter here again, although dang it would be so nice. True. We just need a guy who can catch a good game, call a good game, and have the where-with-all to get a decent enough batting average worth of hits. Maybe Miami's catcher JT Realmuto is too lofty a desire? Maybe Max Stassi is better? Put him with Kevin Plawecki when he gets back as a tandem.

Here's what killed me about last night's game against the Braves...

Noah was fine after inning one. Great pitchers tend to take an inning or two to settle in, then lookout. In inning 9, Frazier was on first base. We get three batters in succession who basically try to belt a homerun when all the Mets really needed to get were basehit singles. Rosario, Nido, and Reyes are not true homerun hitters.

The Braves beat the Mets last night by hitting singles really. When will the Mets learn this factoid? The batting coach needs to get this message across again maybe.

Mack's Mets © 2012