The relationship between the Mets and Matt Harvey has soured recently, as the two sides engaged in a very public battle over the starting pitcher's innings limits. That, along with the popular belief that the Mets will not be able to afford to sign him once he hits free agency, has led some to speculate that the Mets would look to trade Harvey this coming offseason.
Jon Heyman touched on the topic, saying that someone with the Mets suggested that they do expect calls on Harvey, but "would not discount him one iota." Nor should they. Harvey is incredibly valuable: He is one of the best pitchers in baseball and is under team control for three more years. That low cost for an ace would be attractive to other teams as well. While he is due for a raise this offseason via arbitration, he will still make far less than what he could get on the open market.
Harvey has also established that he is healthy. Coming back from Tommy John surgery, he has fared about as well as could be expected. Despite a few rough patches during the season, he has been excellent overall, sporting a 2.88 ERA and a 3.29 FIP. If Harvey were having a terrible season there probably wouldn't even be a debate over his innings.
Beyond Harvey, the Mets have a strong stable of starting pitching. Jacob deGrom went from unheralded prospect to superstar almost overnight. Behind him, Noah Syndergaard has looked great in his debut season at the major league level, posting a 3.31 ERA and 3.39 FIP, and in a much smaller sample, Steven Matz has impressed as well. The Mets can also look forward to the return of Zack Wheeler sometime in 2016, and Jon Niese is still under contract for another year.
So if the Mets do look to trade Harvey once the season is over, it shouldn't be because they are sick of dealing with Matt Harvey the person. It should be because trading him can help the team, and because their pitching depth can help mitigate his loss. While they would surely miss Harvey, the Mets could trade him and still have a strong starting rotation for several years.
Considering his immense value, the conversation shifts to the potential return he could command. Assuming that Harvey is made available, other top pitchers that will be on the market include David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija, all of whom will be free agents. But Harvey's salary will be far cheaper. So perhaps the Mets could take advantage of that and acquire someone to fill a position of need, such as shortstop. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggested a package headlined by Xander Bogaerts, but in any case the Mets would probably need to be bowled over to consider making a deal.
All things considered, if a good player is being dangled, there is no reason the Mets should not at least listen to offers for Harvey. If trading him makes the team demonstrably better, then they should do it, and if nothing materializes, they can sit back and let Harvey pitch for another three years before worrying about losing him.