Blue Jays should not take a chance on Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey, former Mets ace, was recently designated for assignment, in a surprising move that caused many to wonder if their favourite team should take a flyer on the 29-year old hurler. As enticing as it is, the Blue Jays should not try to sign Matt Harvey.
At one point, Matt Harvey was good, really good. He was one of the National League’s top pitchers, finishing fourth in Cy Young voting in 2013, and earning an All-Star nod in that same season. From 2012 to 2015, he pitched to a 2.53 ERA in 427 innings, striking out 449 with a WHIP of exactly 1.000. He was worth a 5.4 WAR in 2013 and boasted a National League-best 2.01 FIP.
However, he hasn’t fared so well over the past few seasons, pitching a meager 212.1 innings since 2016 with an ERA of 5.93 and a WHIP of 1.578. After Tommy John surgery, Harvey was never quite the same, and he knew it.
A lot of Blue Jays fans might be thinking, why not take a flyer on Harvey? He’s a low risk, high reward type player with tremendous upside and a decent history of success. While that may be true, Harvey lacks several intangible qualities that the front office loves to see in their players.
For starters (no pun intended), Harvey has been constant trouble in the clubhouse. He’s attacked members of the media, rejected a demotion to Triple-A and has shared some less than popular opinions regarding some medical professionals in the league. Seeing as the Jays have made a conscious effort to bring in clubhouse guys, Harvey would be taking a step back in that regard.
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It’s also difficult to bring him in seeing as he’s a free agent at the end of this year. Returning to his former glory could take years, and the Jays don’t have that kind of time right now. While they’re not exactly a concrete contender, they’re in win-now mode. Taking on Matt Harvey as a comeback candidate doesn’t really align with their goals at this point.
Playing devil’s advocate, Harvey could serve as a long man in the pen. The Blue Jays don’t really have a swingman who can mop up blowouts or eat up innings in routs, so he could fit in there. Still, he’s struggled in the pen this year. Although the sample size is small, it’s tough to envision him succeeded in the hostile offensive environment that is the AL East.
When you combine the two aforementioned factors with a steep salary ($5.625 million), the New London, Connecticut native is a hard sell for this organization at this time. Given his past statements, one can reasonably believe that he will not accept a minor-league deal. That being said, it’s difficult to see him fitting into this bullpen at this time.
Maybe the front office will surprise us and boldly attempt to sign Harvey. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how this situation unfolds, because it’s not every day a former ace gets DFA’d.