Former New York Mets ace Matt Harvey was designated for assignment earlier this week. Should the Cleveland Indians try to bring him in?
This is the question every single MLB team is asking themselves right now. Should they claim or sign Matt Harvey? On one hand, there’s the Matt Harvey that posted three straight sub-3.00 ERA seasons from 2012-2015 and looked like the second coming of Clayton Kershaw.
On the other hand, you have the 2016-present Matt Harvey that has seen his ERA climb to 7.00 with major questions about his health and his commitment to his team after several incidents of partying late into the night before days he would pitch.
Teams like the Cleveland Indians need to wonder if it’s worth the risk of claiming present Matt Harvey with the hope that he can get back to what he was from 2012-2015. There’s a decent chance he’ll never get back to what he was before, and teams could be scared off by that.
Is Harvey a fit in Cleveland?
Scott Boras maintains that Harvey needs to be in the starting rotation to work on all his pitches as he continues to come back from Thoracic Outlet Surgery.
Currently, Josh Tomlin occupies the fifth spot in the rotation, and he doesn’t exactly have much job certainty at this point. So sure, the argument can be made that there is a hole in the starting rotation that Harvey can fit.
If the Cleveland Indians were somehow able to get him back to his prime, a rotation of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and prime Matt Harvey would be unstoppable. The Tribe’s strength gets even stronger. But getting him back to his prime is a big ‘if’.
Is Cleveland a fit for Harvey?
Harvey has had several issues regarding his character of late. He missed a game last year because he was too hungover from partying the night before and the Mets suspended him for it. He took an off day he had in San Diego earlier this season and went up to Los Angeles to party before heading back.
Harvey has serious alcohol issues that he needs to work through. And a change of scenery to a smaller market team could be exactly what he needs. Take this from former MLB GM Jim Bowden for example.
Small Market? Check. Good pitching coach? Check. Analytics based front office? Check. Harvey needs somewhere where he can stay out of the spotlight and focus on getting back to where he was as a pitcher. Cleveland fits that description.
Should Cleveland sign Harvey?
I know this might be like comparing apples and oranges but Johnny Manziel came to the Cleveland Browns with known alcohol issues that needed to be worked through and things did not go well for Manziel. But both Manziel and Harvey are talented athletes with personal issues to work through. One came to Cleveland and it didn’t work out.
Now the situation is a little different obviously, besides being two different sports. Harvey would be coming to a championship caliber Indians team full of star studded players. He would not have to be in the spotlight and be the guy that the team has to depend on. There was nowhere to hide Manziel on a clearly inferior Browns roster.
Should they sign Harvey? I don’t think so. Even with the struggles of Tomlin, there’s enough pitching currently in the organization that they don’t need to run the risk of bringing in a character concern to this clubhouse.
It’s probably going to take more than just this season to fix Matt Harvey, and he’s a free agent at the end of the year. Why do all the work and deal with all the bad that he could bring to the team just to watch some other team reap the benefits? As much as I want Harvey to get right and have success again, from a baseball perspective, it doesn’t make much sense for the Indians.
The Cleveland Indians likely aren’t willing to part with anything in a trade with the Mets and neither are most teams. Whatever team or teams want to bring him in will likely wait until he reaches free agency and passes through waivers.