Every athlete has a leash. Matt Harvey just thought his was longer than it really is.
That’s the only possible explanation for a pitcher who is 6-12 over his last 23 starts thinking that he could miss a ball game without consequence.
“You can get away with it when you’re blowing everybody away and you’re pitching like a superstar, but when you’re pretty much an average pitcher now, you can’t get away with this stuff,” New York Daily News writer John Harper said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “There’s a lot of bad blood there going back two or three years. They’ve always been on a course where they were going to part at some point, and he’s a free agent after next season, but this really got under the skin of the people at the top of the organization.”
The Mets (16-16), who trail the Nationals (21-12) by 4.5 games in the NL East, need Harvey to pitch like an ace, especially with Noah Syndergaard on the DL. But whether he does to doesn’t, Harvey’s days in Queens could be numbered.
“There’s a long way to go in this season. We got to see how he pitches. But I would not be surprised if this leads to a trade in the offseason,” Harper said. “Now you don’t want to sell-low on the guy, so you got to see how he finishes out and if you can get anything from him. But they are ready to move on from him.”
Still, Mets brass felt that Harvey, who was suspended for three days without pay, was sincere in his Tuesday apology to teammates and the organization. So did Harper.
“(He was) as humble and as embarrassed and as contrite as I’ve ever seen him as a Met,” Harper said. “It seems to me like he was almost saying he’s got a change his life. It sounded like he was saying, ‘Hey, I need help here.’ Now I was told the Mets actually asked him, ‘Do you think you need time away from baseball?’ – basically implying you need to go to rehab – and he insisted he does not have that type of problem. But they’re that concerned about his off-the-field activities.”
Harvey (2-2, 5.14 ERA) is slated to start Friday in Milwaukee. Once a franchise cornerstone, he will now be assessed on a day-to-day and start-by-start basis.
“This is probably not going to end well,” Harper said, “but they need him right now so they’re going to throw him back out there.”