After the New York Mets traded away one of the most polarizing players in team history on Tuesday in Matt Harvey, some notable comments began coming in from current Mets officials and a former manager who knows Harvey pretty well.
The player the Mets acquired from the Reds, Devin Mesoraco, fills a glaring hole in the team’s roster. The fact that they got an MLB-level player at all is a downright impressive and savvy move by Sandy Alderson & Co.
As per Kristie Ackert of The New York Daily News, the team’s special assistant to the GM, J.P. Ricciardi had this to say about the deal, “I think we’re fortunate that it happened to (work) out the way it did. To address one of our needs was something we were looking to do and able to do.”
From Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, a few Mets players chimed in after Harvey was designated for assignment.
Jerry Blevins told Kernan, “I’ve, pretty much, seen everything happen in this game. It was a move I think the Mets had to make and I think Matt made a move he needed to make. I think Matt needed a fresh start.”
Blevins articulately continued, “He has some quality stuff and I think he has a lot of big league time left in him. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery for your career to blossom again…”
Jay Bruce expressed similar sentiments, saying, “You see where guys get a new start and they thrive. I want him to have success and get back to where he feels like he is himself…”
These quotes were all taken days before the trade went down but still ring very true. One can only hope that Harvey’s body can still hold up to the task of once again becoming a capable, effective major league hurler.
Since 2016, the 29-year-old right-hander has a 5.93 earned-run average with a 69 ERA+. His fielding independent pitching rating (FIP) is 5.02, nearly a run lower than his actual earned-run average, so at the very least he is doing something right.
While his strikeouts per nine innings (6.9), walks per nine (3.4) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.01) are still respectable, the numbers have taken a dramatic dive since his pre-injury days (9.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 4.78 (K/BB).
The Cincinnati Reds are certainly looking at the bright side of things, as the team’s general manager Dick Williams expressed to ESPN, “We primarily looked at video and scouting reports as a pitcher. We made some calls to find some things out, but it was mainly mechanical.”
The most recent former manager of the New York Mets, Terry Collins, who had a terrific relationship with Harvey throughout practically his entire development, had some heart-warming words to say to Dom Amore of The Hartford Courant.
Collins managed the Mets from 2011-2017, leading the team to a 551-583 record with his tenure reaching its zenith in 2015 when the team won the National League pennant behind a rejuvenated, post-UCL surgery, Matt Harvey.
To Amore, Collins spoke candidly about Harvey’s fifth-game performance in that aforementioned 2015 World Series,
“He walked up to me in the dugout and said, ‘This is my game, I want to go back out there.’ And I loved that. I love that in a pitcher. He never had an excuse. Not one time did Matt Harvey ever make an excuse. He wanted the baseball.”
Collins continued, “He was pitching so well, I just said, ‘You know what, this is his time.’ Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I don’t second guess what I did.”
Mickey Callaway can talk about conviction all he wants. If he needs a visual aid, show his players this quote.
Amore’s article continues with Collins sharing some more thoughts on a player he clearly, truly cared about,
“I love Matt Harvey. I love him like a son. We went through a lot of wars. I saw a guy, when he got to the big leagues, within two seasons he made himself, if not the best, then one of the top three pitchers in all of baseball.
So what happened the last few years, injury-wise and how it affected him, was really tough to see and go through for him. I just hope he just goes and catches his breath and doesn’t stop the work process that it’s going to take to get back.”
The rest of the conversation is terrific. Please check it out.
Whatever the future holds for Matt Harvey, some notable names from across the scope of the New York Mets organization are clearly in his corner and rooting for him to succeed.