The relationship among the Mets, their fans, and Matt Harvey has been a unique one from the start. At the age of 23, he made a big splash in his first stint in the big leagues with ten starts of a 2.73 ERA and a staggering 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings, a combination that had Mets fans falling in love with him quickly.
Plenty has happened since then, but after he missed a game on Saturday night and got suspended for three games by the Mets, there have been calls from some corners for the Mets to trade the 28-year-old. That would clearly be a mistake.
While Harvey’s return from Tommy John surgery went swimmingly back in 2015—he wasn’t quite at his 2013 level of dominance but was still very, very good—things took a turn for the worse in the seventeen starts he made last year before he found out he’d need surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. That left Harvey with a 4.86 ERA in 2016, by far the worst single-season mark of his career.
Down one rib, Harvey hasn’t fared so well in his first six starts of this season, either. His strikeouts are down, he’s sitting on a 5.14 ERA at the moment, and he’ll have to re-acclimate to a clubhouse that he hasn’t been a part of for the past three days. But with his stock diminished on the baseball side of things and the indiscretion that got him suspended not seeming all that bad, Matt Harvey still seems very much like a keeper.
There may come a time that trading Harvey would make sense for the Mets, as it seems pretty clear at this point that the team and player won’t be together beyond the 2018 season. But that time isn’t now. The Mets need Harvey to improve on the mound, both for the team’s success this year and for him to establish any value whatsoever if they want to trade him. And the guy who blew past his innings limit—which in typical Mets fashion existed, didn’t exist, and existed again, depending on what day it was late in the 2015 season—and helped carry the team to its first National League pennant since 2000 deserves the chance to reestablish himself.