A Time for Aces
Excuse me for a moment. I’m going to rip a page right out of the script from A Time to Kill:
I want to tell you a story. I’m going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a Mets pitcher. He comes to Spring Training after a big year, and he is upset with his contract. He wants to get paid what he thinks he deserves, but he is forced to accept what the Mets give him. In his first Spring start, his velocity is down. He’s unhappy with his contract, and he still has more work to do in Spring Training to get ready for the season. Can you see him. I want you to picture that Mets pitcher. Now, I want you to imagine he’s Jacob deGrom.
Look, everyone assumes it’s Matt Harvey who is going to be difficult to agree to a contract extension. It’s his off-the-field social life that gets highlighted, and for some, it creates the presumption that he does not do all he can do to be prepared for the 2016 season.
However, this Spring Training, it’s been deGrom who has complained about his salary, which is something Harvey didn’t do. He was the Mets pitcher that went out his first start and didn’t have people espousing that he’s in mid-season form.
Note, this is definitively not a criticism of deGrom. He has done nothing to deserve criticism. I take no umbrage with him wanting to get paid what he thinks he’s worth. I applaud him wanting to sign an extension to stay with the Mets. I will not read anything into one Spring Training start. So far in his young career, deGrom has been ready to pitch when called upon.
It should also be noted Harvey has also stated he would be open to signing an extension to stay with the Mets. Of course when Harvey says it, people are dismissive of the concept. The real difference between Harvey and deGrom is perception.
With the innings limit drama last year, deGrom is seen as a team first guy, and Harvey is seen as a me first guy. I’m not sure that characterization is entirely fair. Harvey pitched all postseason, and he never asked out of a game. Rather, he wanted the ball.
The Mets are blessed to have three aces. They all want to win, and they are doing what is necessary to win a World Series. Let’s just enjoy them instead of creating narratives that they don’t want to be here, or that they only care about themselves.
It’s not fair, and it’s not right. It’s time for Mets fans to press the reset button on their relationship with Harvey.