The New York Mets being able to trot out their five stud starters of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz didn’t last for long.
Some of that is because veteran southpaw Jason Vargas, who was signed during the winter provide some much-needed rotational depth, will be returning from an injury to his non-pitching hand in the coming days.
But most of that is because Matt Harvey simply is not an MLB-caliber starting pitcher anymore and we all saw it again on Thursday night.
The pitcher formerly known as the “Dark Knight” faltered against the Atlanta Braves, grounding the Mets after a huge comeback win over the Washington Nationals the night before.
In the first three innings of his start in Atlanta, Harvey was hammered for six runs on seven hits, putting New York in a 6-0 hole they were not able to climb out of in what became a 12-4 loss.
Now with four starts under his belt, Harvey is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and the clear weak link in the Mets rotation, which is a bit of an accomplishment considering Steven Matz is 1-1 with a 4.42 ERA of his own while looking overwhelmingly mediocre at best.
On Saturday, the Mets dropped the hammer, moving Harvey to the bullpen. One that is only going to make his departure from New York all the more likely.
The relationship between the 29-year-old and his franchise has been a testy one over the years whether it’s been because of disputes on the process of recoveries from injury or Harvey’s actions off the baseball field. As he’s been unable to regain the form that made him one of baseball’s most exciting pitchers in 2013, there has been plenty of speculation that his time with the Mets will be up shortly.
Harvey’s contract expires at the end of this season and a fresh start will likely be vital for the resurrection of his career. It’s clear that he can’t succeed in Queens.
If general manager Sandy Alderson can find a way, trading Harvey before this summer’s trade deadline would be considered a victory as the Mets could get something for the troubled and struggling arm. But in order for him to do so, the Mets had to keep the righty in the majors.
A logical move upon Vargas’ return would have been to send whichever pitcher chosen to leave the rotation down to triple-A Las Vegas. Sending Harvey to the minors wouldn’t have done much to show teams around the majors that he can attain any sort of success in the big leagues.
That meant the shift to the bullpen was the best possible option, though Harvey was not happy about it.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, obviously I’m at a 10 with being pissed off,” Harvey said (h/t MLB.com). “My performance hasn’t been there and I just have to do whatever I have to do to get back in the starting rotation. Right now, that’s go to the bullpen and work on some things, get things back to where I need to be.”