Can Matt Harvey revive his career with the Oakland Athletics? The embattled right-handed pitcher signed a minor league contract with the A’s on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Oakland Athletics inked former Mets’ star, Matt Harvey, to a minor league contract. According to Susan Slusser of the San Fransisco Chronicle, the right-handed starter will report to Triple-A Las Vegas. Harvey will serve as rotation depth for an Oakland Athletics team that has its eyes set on the AL Wild Card.
The A’s have been ravaged with injuries to pitchers as they are currently without Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Marco Estrada, Daniel Gossett, and Jharel Cotton, who are all missing time dealing with significant injuries. The A’s are also missing Frankie Montas, who is currently serving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. These missing pieces have led the A’s to aggressively upgrade their rotation as Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey have been recent notable acquisitions.
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Matt Harvey is a notable name that has fallen from the mountain top. We are left to wonder, does the righty have anything left in the tank? The A’s have had a good amount of success reviving discarded starters in years past, will Matt Harvey be their next successful project?
We will see, but this signing is likely influenced by A’s Executive, Sandy Alderson, who was the General Manager with the New York Mets during Harvey’s tenure in New York. After a rough divorce with the Mets, Matt Harvey saw his value rebound during the back half of the 2018 season with his time with the Cinncinati Reds.
The former Dark Knight recorded a 4.50 ERA and a respectable 1.25 WHIP through 24 starts with the Reds. This was a notable improvement as the injury-prone righty held a 7.00 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP prior to being dealt to Cinncinati. This bounce-back performance led Harvey to sign a one-year, $11 million contract with the Los Angeles Angeles during this past offseason. The Angeles did not receive much return on their investment as Harvey reverted to productivity that resembled his final years with the Mets. Over 12 starts, Harvey recorded a 7.09 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, with 5.88 K/9 and 4.37 BB/9 across 59 2/3 innings pitched.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Harvey allowed home runs on a personal-worst 22.4 percent of fly balls and recorded the lowest average four-seam fastball velocity of his career (93.2 mph). This seems to be a new rock bottom for Harvey as Tommy-John surgery, thoracic outlet syndrome and other various injuries have thrown off a very promising career.
Is this the end, will Harvey throw a Major League pitch for the A’s? Personally, I would be optimistic and say that he will. As I mentioned earlier, the A’s have had a good amount of success reviving discarded starters. This can be seen in 2018 as the A’s were able to usurp value out of Edwin Jackson. Prior to signing with Oakland, Jackson recorded a 5.48 ERA and 1.53 WHIP across 356 1/3 innings pitched from 2014 to 2017. In 2018, Jackson held a 6-3 record with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP over 92 innings pitched. The club has had similar success with Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, who is currently in the A’s rotation.
Now, the A’s have not had a large amount of success with Homer Bailey, whose career has also been riddled with injuries. Over six starts with the A’s, Bailey has posted a 6.40 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Even with that said, we should be optimistic about Bailey as he threw seven shutout innings in his last start against the San Fransisco Giants.
Will Matt Harvey ever pitch again in the Major Leagues? This is yet to be seen, but this move was riskless for a team that might need a veteran to make a few starts down the stretch of the season. If there is any team that can squeeze value out of Matt Harvey, it is the Oakland Athletics. They are a club that always seems to be a step and a half in front of most other clubs.
Even after the drama that has followed him throughout his career and another rough campaign in 2019, Matt Harvey is still an intriguing player. I think the A’s will be able to reach him in a way that other clubs have failed to do as Harvey’s ego often played a part in the tension that came during his days with the Mets. Hey, he refused an assignment to Triple-A while playing the Mets, so this minor league contract can be seen as progress. In reality, it was probably the embattled righty’s only option.