Sunday morning’s nonsense was sadly just more of the same from both Matt Harvey and the New York Mets.
Issues have become the norm for the New York Mets this season. Whether it’s Noah Syndergaard refusing an MRI from management then injuring himself in his next start, sex toys appearing in players’ lockers and being tweeted out for millions to see, or players dropping like flies on a daily basis, the one place the Mets don’t disappoint is in dysfunction. But while these things go on, there is one player who just doesn’t get it: Matt Harvey.
Jumping onto the scene in 2012, he struck out 11 batters in his MLB debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He started for the National League at Citi Field for the 2013 All-Star Game, and won NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2015 after missing the 2014 season due to injury. He was also a huge part of the puzzle that guided the Mets to their World Series appearance that season against Kansas City. (I still don’t blame Terry Collins for starting him in the 9th inning of a game he was dominating.)
"“I can’t answer that. I don’t know.” – Terry Collins on if Matt Harvey’s teammates respect him, via NJ.com"
How could a player with all those accolades and talent still be at such odds with a franchise? How could a fan base hold so much animosity toward a player? When you look at the constant drama surrounding said player, it’s quite simple.
One of the first instances that made fans and players scratch their heads was when Harvey showed up to a Yankees game back in September of 2014. He not only showed up for Derek Jeter’s final home game, but it was during a Mets game in D.C. against the Nationals.
Harvey was out for the season, rehabbing his elbow injury. Rather than make the trip to be with his teammates, or stay home, he decided the smartest thing to do would be attending your crosstown rival’s home game while his team was playing. This wasn’t a Knicks game or Rangers game while his team had the day off. Whatever you may think, it was a dumb decision.
The next issue was when Harvey came back for the 2015 season with an innings limit intact. An innings limit is no issue for a player who comes back from a career-threatening injury. The problem with the limit is that agent Scott Boras put the 180-inning limit on his client with two months left in the season.
Not putting the issue to bed at a press conference shortly after, Harvey struggled through it. The Mets were obviously furious because they had an innings limit already structured for Harvey. Fans were upset that an agent was essentially running the mind of a player. All seemed to be forgotten when Harvey exceeded the limit and pitched well during his postseason appearances.
"“When Matt comes tomorrow we’ll have a discussion and one thing he needs to do is, he needs to address some guys. He can to do it in a group, which is the easiest thing, I always think, or if he wants to do it individually he can do that. I’m just going to leave it to where he’s the most comfortable.” – Terry Collins, via NJ.com"
2016 brought more insecurities when Harvey had his worst season to date. Pitching to a 4-10 record and 4.86 ERA, he was shut down after a shoulder injury led to surgery to resolve a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome.
Coming into the 2017 season, Harvey had a lot to prove. Could he return to his 2013 self and become a veteran leader for his team? So far, not so good. While his numbers haven’t been good (2-2, 5.14 ERA), the off-the-field nonsense is what you just can’t have. Playing poorly all season, the Mets were looking to sweep the division-rival Marlins on Sunday. But when Harvey was suspended because he didn’t inform the team he’d be a no-show on Saturday, New York finally had enough.
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Whether he was golfing Saturday morning, went on a date, or did anything for that matter, it’s alright. The problem with Harvey is that he obviously feels bigger than any other player on the team, or the team itself. I guarantee that if he had just texted his employer that he wasn’t feeling well, it would’ve been avoided. Why not text them? He didn’t because he feels bigger than the team.
This has been a vicious cycle of bad decisions and entitlement from Harvey for the last couple of seasons. Let’s be clear that the Mets haven’t exactly made the best decisions either over time. Carlos Beltran once had knee surgery behind the Mets’ backs because they dealt with their injuries in a very poor manner. Even last week, when the Mets skipped Noah Syndergaard’s scheduled start against the Braves, New York opted until two hours before the game to tell Harvey that he would in fact be starting in his place.
Being desperate for pitching right now, it shows just how bad Matt Harvey looked in this situation. The Mets suspended him in turn for a minor leaguer who got to the city four hours before he was scheduled to pitch. While filing a grievance is a right each major leaguer has, I can’t think of a player looking even worse than he already does by going forward and doing just that. With a fan base giving up on him for a second time in his short career, time will tell if the locker room has done the same.
Once showing flashes of Doc Gooden, that image seems to be slowly drifting away from everyone’s reality. Looking to solidify himself in this rotation alongside the likes of Jacob deGrom as a possible ace, he doesn’t seem to have half of the veteran leadership that he does. His act seems to be getting very old very quickly. Maybe if the Yankees were playing the Mets on Saturday, Harvey would’ve grabbed a couple of Advil, toughed it out and found the energy to make it to the workplace.