The Matt Harvey era in New York came to a tumultuous end this weekend as the Mets announced they were designating the right-hander for assignment. The former ace struggled mightily this season, going 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in 21.0 innings pitched, and made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. After being bumped from the starting rotation, Harvey voiced his displeasure and made it clear that he belonged as a starter. Then, his preparation during a series in Los Angeles came in to question when he was supposedly out partying the night before a shaky relief appearance. Fast forward to this week, the Mets asked Harvey to accept a minor league assignment. He refused and the rest is history. Now that Matt Harvey is hitting the market, many White Sox fans have begun to wonder whether or not the team should try giving him a shot. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of a potential deal.
Why it makes sense
Acquiring Matt Harvey is one of those low risk, high reward type deals that we have seen Rick Hahn and the White Sox make in the past. This move would make the most sense if Harvey enters free agency after the 10-day period because the Mets would owe him the remainder of his current salary. That means the White Sox can pick him up for the league minimum, which is $507,500. An acquisition like this has Don Cooper‘s name all over it due to the pitching coach’s history of working with struggling pitchers. While it’s highly unlikely that Coop could help Harvey return to his old 2015 self, he has a chance to turn him into a serviceable pitcher. With Miguel Gonzalez on the 10-day DL after three terrible outings, the Sox have turned to guys like Chris Volstad, Dylan Covey, and Hector Santiago to fill the void. Would Harvey be any better? It’s hard to say, but his past indicates that there is more potential that exists than the other aforementioned pitchers. A little work with Coop and a change of scenery could benefit Harvey as gets away from the giant spotlight in the Big Apple. Plus, if a miracle happens, though it seems unlikely, Matt Harvey could be flipped at the deadline. Again, this is unlikely based on what we’ve seen from Harvey since the start of 2016, but it is something to keep in consideration.
Why it doesn’t make sense
As mentioned above, the White Sox rotation already has guys like James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez, and the others who have filled in since Gonzalez’s injury. This means that Harvey would be replacing either Shields or Gonzalez. And like the two pitchers, Harvey is in his last year of club control so he would not be around for long. With all of this, keep in mind that Carlos Rodon will be returning to the White Sox rotation at some point in June. Additionally, top pitching prospect Michael Kopech‘s days in Triple-A are winding down so expect him to join the White Sox rotation next month, as well. If you do the math, that essentially eliminates Shields, Gonzalez, and Harvey from the rotation completely. And with Harvey being a strong opponent of working out of the bullpen, the Sox wouldn’t be able to find use for him there.
Now for the fun part, Matt Harvey’s clubhouse presence. Rick Renteria has changed the clubhouse culture in Chicago since being named manager and the group has been meshing very well ever since. By bringing in a guy like Matt Harvey, who has been nothing but a giant distraction, you are going against what you have been working on changing and improving. Is it brutal to watch the back end of the rotation get hammered in their starts? Of course. However, replacing a pitcher like James Shields who is well-liked and a mentor for the younger guys with the opposite in Matt Harvey just does not seem like it makes the most sense.
Overall, when looking at both sides of this argument, it appears that the best course of action is to ride out the storm with the current pitchers on the roster. Yes, Matt Harvey’s upside makes him attractive for certain clubs to go out and give him another chance. However, the soon additions of Rodon and Kopech and the clubhouse presence in Shields and Gonzalez just does not make it seem likely. The June reinforcements are near so just stay patient.