It’s been no secret this year. Matt Harvey has been the best pitcher on the New York Mets, and one of the top pitchers in the NL all year this year. The way things look right now, Harvey has a shot at possibly winning the Cy Young award in the NL this year. Even with that possibility in mind, the Mets still plan to shut down their ace pitcher, according to the New York Daily News.
I can see where Mets management is coming from on this issue, but it still leaves me scratching my head.
According to the report in the paper, the Mets want to ensure that Harvey’s arm is well protected for the future. He’s the ace of the pitching staff and one of the faces of the franchise. Harvey is looked at as one of the core guys on this Mets ball club to be a part of the winning future. The Mets have said they “will not waver” from that strategy. Again, it’s totally understandable they want to protect the kid for the long run in his career.
At the same time, this still leaves me scratching my head a bit, especially when Harvey has a shot at the Cy Young. Harvey (9-3) has a 2.09 ERA, second only in the NL to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (1.91). Harvy leads the league with 178 strikeouts, though a low win total and a shutdown, could keep him from nabbing the Cy Young.
Harvey, currently at 159.2 innings, won’t get the opportunity to come anywhere near R.A. Dickey’s mark, which was 233.2 innings tossed last year when Dickey won the Cy Young.
The Mets told Harvey they would shut him down “even if one or two strong starts at the end could clinch” the Cy Young award. As much as I want to see Harvey win the award, which would make it the first time ever that the Mets would produce Cy Young winners consecutive years, I personally want Harvey to be healthy and rested for the long run.
What the Mets are doing now reminds me a lot of what the Washington Nationals did last year with Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals were a playoff team, and got to the postseason without Strasburg for the last half of the season as they decided to shut him down when he hit his innings limit with a month left. The difference here, of course, is that the Mets don’t really have much of a chance to make the playoffs.
When it comes to Harvey, I really want to see him finish the year off and play out the rest of his starts. Harvey makes Mets games exciting again. There’s just a different kind of buzz around the park when Harvey is on the hill. It would be a great thing to have him on the mound for every start. At the same time, I want to have Harvey healthy and on the mound in a Mets uniform for a long, long time.
So if it means possibly shutting him down and having him miss out on the Cy Young, then so be it. The award would be nice, but having Harvey around for the long term would be even better.