No one could have been surprised Matt Harvey will be getting paid and pitching in Major League Baseball for next season.
No, he is not going to get the $100 million deal he envisioned getting when he was at his best for the Mets a few years ago. No, he is not going to pitch for a big-market team that he craved.
But settling for a one-year, $11 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is not the worst thing in the world for him. He will be working next year, and making $11 million is great living. If he chooses, he can always drive to Los Angeles for a night on the town or go to a nightclub.
Harvey was not raised a fool even if he behaves like one. He knew this was as good as it was going to get for him after a mediocre stint with the Cincinnati Reds this summer. He would have been stupid to reject that deal since not many teams were calling for his service after not pitching like the Dark Knight the last few seasons. As soon as he received an offer, he took it.
He should be thankful to get that deal and that money, and he knows it, which is why he decided not to stall any longer in seeking a deal.
The one-time Mets star shouldn’t apologize for receiving this type of deal. Everyone is overpaid in Major League Baseball. When Lance Lynn receives a three-year, $30 million contract from the Texas Rangers despite finishing 10-10 in 2018 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 29 starts and two relief appearances, then Harvey can get a deal like he received from the Angels.
Pitching in Major League Baseball is always a valuable commodity. Teams believe they can transform a mediocre pitcher into a star pitcher with couple of tweaks with his mechanics. In Harvey’s case, the Angels feel he has so much left that they thought it was worth the investment.
This is a team that needs pitching, and the Dark Knight could contribute and fetch value in return during the trade deadline this summer if the Angels consider trading him.
For the Angels, it’s a low risk, high reward move. If he struggles with them, it’s only a year and they can move on quickly.
For Harvey, there’s so much to lose. If he does not pitch well this coming season, not only he won’t get a deal that he received from the Angels ever again, but he won’t be pitching in Major League Baseball ever again.
The last few years have not been good to him. He has been injured, and he has been erratic in his starts. He went 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 24 starts he made for the Reds this season. He struggled to pitch once he faced hitters second time around, and then-interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman couldn’t wait to take him out late in the fourth inning or early in the fifth since he had no faith in his starter getting through five innings to get the win.
Right now, he is living off his past reputation when he pitched like one of the best pitchers in baseball prior to the Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome He can only do this so far. Results have to come for him.
No one is saying that he should be the Dark Knight again. Those days are over with age and surgeries, but he has to pitch like a competent starter such as giving his team a chance to win and be the innings eater. He can still do that.
Harvey still feels he can pitch like he was in 2013 when he pitched to a 2.27 ERA across 26 starts. That is wishful thinking on his part, but hey maybe he knows something we don’t. This is what makes his story appealing and interesting.
All eyes will be on him. There’s interest on him here in the New York area based on what he did for the Mets. He was such a cult figure when he first entered the scene, so there are people wondering if he still has it.
Harvey is running out of time to show what he got.
He is thankful this holiday season that he got one more chance to show what he still has.
He can forget about being one of the highest paid pitchers in the game now. That ship sailed, and if he can’t pitch like an above average starter, he will be out of the game by next season.