Mets Cannot Trade Harvey
While the New York Yankees were introducing their newest player Giancarlo Stanton and basking in the afterglow of their reemergence as the Evil Empire, the Mets were contemplating an exit strategy for Matt Harvey. According to reports, this includes potentially trading him to the Texas Rangers for Jurickson Profar.
The Mets even contemplating such a move is a dangerous situation for the franchise, and it is a move that can blow up in their faces.
Look, there is no doubt, Harvey is no longer Harvey. Over the past two seasons, he has dealt with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, atrophied muscles in his throwing shoulder, and an ensuing stress reaction. His combined stats are a 9-17 record with a 5.78 ERA and a 1.581 WHIP.
Looking over that, there is every doubt Harvey could get back to being a good Major League pitcher let alone the Dark Knight.
You know what is even more doubtful? Profar will ever live up to the billing of being Baseball America‘s top prospect after the 2012 season.
After receiving the top billing, Profar missed consecutive seasons due to shoulder injuries. Since returning from those injuries, Profar has played in 112 games over the past two seasons hitting .227/.316/.315. That’s good for a 67 OPS+ and a 71 wRC+.
Defensively, he’s played everywhere because when you hit as poorly as Profar, you’re nothing more than a utility player. Albeit in limited sample sizes, he’s capably handled first, second, third, short, and left field. The key phrase here is capably, not well. In the end if you are not outstanding defensively, you cannot afford to have offensive stats as low as Profar.
With how poorly Profar has performed, it begs the question why anyone would have interest in him, let alone a Mets team who already have middling and much better second base and platoon options. Really, the Mets should be hesitant to trade Rafael Montero for Profar let alone Harvey.
With Harvey, you at least have some hope. That’s not just hope in the clubhouse, but also with the fanbase.
The team brought on Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland. The team appears to be bringing in a new person to oversee the training program. All of these things indicate Harvey could very well rebound. Quite possibly he doesn’t, but at the very least, there are the tools in place needed for Harvey to be Harvey.
Even if he fails in the rotation, Mets fans can talk themselves into being a dominant reliever. We need not look any further than Brandon Morrow or what Eiland, himself, did with Mike Minor, who coincidentally signed a free agent deal with the Rangers.
That comes to the next point. Harvey brings more than hope. He’s a lightning rod for the Mets. Every fifth day, he demands attention. He’s an interesting and polarizing figure. Put another way, he’s a star.
As Sandy Alderson reminded us when the Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, Major League Baseball is in the entertainment business. Teams need to not only be good. They need to be entertaining. They need to give people a reason to watch.
Harvey does that. Profar never has and never will. Really, any player the Mets would move for Harvey would do that.
At a time when the Yankees are the most interesting they have been since 2009 or even during their last dynasty, the Mets can ill afford to be both bad and boring. With the team plugging holes with players like Profar, they promise to be bad. With the Mets moving players like Harvey, they promise to be boring.
When you’re both bad and boring, no one wants to come to the ballpark. More than anyone else, the Mets should know that with Grant’s Tomb and the Madoff Scandal.
Fortunately for the moment, the Mets do not appear to believe Profar is enough for Harvey. Make no mistake, the trade discussions with the Rangers is but the first step in what may be Harvey’s last day as a member of the Mets organization as the team seems intent to move him.
Overall, the Mets can ill afford to trade Harvey because they can’t replace him or the hope he presents the team. With him goes what fleeting relevancy the Mets have in New York. Love him or hate him, the Mets need him.