By Zach Gewelb
In the blink of an eye, the Matt Harvey era is officially over.
Days after being designated for assignment, Harvey was traded to the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday in exchange for former All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco. This has to be considered a win-win scenario for the Mets.
The Mets were ready to move on from their former ace who, at the top of his game, was considered one of the best pitchers in the league. But injuries kicked in and Harvey never truly recovered. He was booted from the rotation and moved to the bullpen early this season and the results were not great.
Then there’s his issues off the field. Harvey’s party boy reputation has followed him his entire career. It was something the Mets could cope with when he was an ace. But as a struggling reliever, there was no need to put up with his antics any longer.
Recent reports had him partying in Los Angeles the night before the Mets were set to take on the Padres in San Diego. There are worse things that could’ve happened, but it was a bad look for the struggling Harvey. General manager Sandy Alderson said he couldn’t get upset when the news broke about Harvey’s recent partying.
“Usually I get upset if a report is unexpected, so I guess the short answer is no,” Alderson said.
Alderson made that comment May 1. Harvey was designated for assignment May 5 and was traded May 8.
It doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines. The Mets had come to expect that kind of behavior from Harvey and the team was clearly frustrated.
The team tried sending him down to Triple-A, an assignment that Harvey refused, leading to the eventual trade to Cincinnati. The Mets told teams they wanted a catcher, which was a huge need with Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki both injured, and the Reds had the best to offer.
That the club managed to acquire a starting catcher for a player they were ready to release has to be a steal for general manager Sandy Alderson. Yes, Mesoraco has his warts — he, too, has an ugly injury history — but he has the potential to do same damage at the plate if he can remain healthy.
The Mets got more than they could have hoped for in return for Harvey. Now, the pitcher formerly known as The Dark Knight will try to resurrect his career in Cincinnati, where he will have a chance to stick in the starting rotation for the last-place Reds.
Meanwhile, Mesoraco will try to help the struggling Mets bounce back from their rough stretch and keep them in the playoff race.
It seems as though the Mets got the better end of the deal. But perhaps a motivated Harvey can turn things around in Cincinnati. Time will tell, but regardless of the outcome, this was a move the Mets had to make.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe