The New York Mets are poised to get their ace back in time for Opening Day 2015. There was little doubt about that. The question that was looming was how cautious would the team be with Matt Harvey as he returns from Tommy John surgery. Well now we have the long awaited answer.
Harvey is expected to be able to pitch for as long as the Mets’ season goes, with a small exception. He will be skipping starts at points throughout the season in order to reduce the stress on his arm and surgically repaired elbow.
The Mets have been known to be cautious with their valuable pitching commodities. Most recently, Jacob deGrom was shut down for last bit of last season as a result of an innings limit.
This is a stark contrast to the strategy taken by the Washington Nationals back in 2012. That was the year that Stephen Strasburg was returning from Tommy John surgery and the Nationals chose to shut him down for the end of the season and playoffs. This came back to hurt them when they were ousted from postseason play, partially as a result of missing their ace.
The Mets will not make the same mistake. Harvey is expected to have no problems pitching into October should the Mets advance that far because of his occasional skipped start during the regular season.
Sandy Alderson says goal is to have Matt Harvey pitching through entire postseason, so innings would be shaved in-season.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) November 18, 2014
The Mets certainly have the personnel to make this decision. As everyone has talked about, there is an excess of starting pitching on the Mets’ roster. Not only is there an extra veteran starter currently on the roster, there are a few young pitchers looking to make an impact. If Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon are all still on the roster on Opening Day, a six man rotation would allow for the easy skipping of Harvey’s starts.
If one of them is traded to bring the rotation down to five, Rafael Montero or Carlos Torres, who both will likely be pitching out of the bullpen, have started in the past and could be candidates for a Harvey day off.
Another candidate is top prospect Noah Syndergaard who is still patiently waiting his first shot at the big leagues. However, it may take an injury to get him to Queens as I don’t think the Mets would put him on the big league roster if there wasn’t an immediate chance to start somewhat consistently.
I think this is the right move to make with Harvey. Of course he is going to want to pitch every fifth day, but it’s best to play it safe considering how easy it is for something to go wrong in coming back from Tommy John surgery (see Jeremy Hefner or Brandon Beachy). This enables him to pitch all the way through the end of the season and so it won’t cost the Mets down the stretch if they are in a race, while still erring on the side of caution.
Other news and notes
The Mets officially announced the official new dimensions at Citi Field. In the end the goal was to move in the right center field fence. Originally 415 feet away from home plate the right center field gap is now only 380 after two restructures (the first moved it in to 390). This shapes up to be a big help to players such as Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson in terms of their power numbers.
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) November 18, 2014