The situation with New York Mets‘ pitcher Matt Harvey is one of the sadder stories of 2013, similar to that of Mariano Rivera’s last season. There are some injuries that just hurt the soul, whether it’s because of the severity of the injury or the timing of the injury. Harvey’s injury isn’t gruesome, or even uncommon for that matter, but it’s the timing that makes this one difficult.
First and foremost, I have to make it clear that it has not yet been determined whether Harvey will have to undergo surgery, but let’s entertain the thought. If the partial tear to his ulnar collateral ligament ends up requiring surgery, we’re not going to see Harvey pitch for a long time. The standard expectation when undergoing Tommy John surgery is that it takes over 12 months from going under the knife, to pitching in the majors again. That means Harvey likely wouldn’t pitch for the Mets until the 2015 season.
That’s terrible, I get it. Harvey was taking the baseball world by storm, he holds the third lowest ERA in the majors, and he’s a rookie. He’s the most exciting baseball player in New York right now, no doubt, but other than that, not much changes for the Mets.
Harvey was exciting, sure, but he wasn’t going to make the Mets contenders in 2014. Realistically, they won’t even be contenders in 2015, but I could see them on the brink by then. The Mets are rebuilding, and Harvey is just a piece of that, albeit a large piece. There are players still developing in New York’s farm system, and now it’s kind of a waiting game for them.
There are small things they can do, however. The Mets’ front office made some smart moves by trading Marlon Byrd and John Buck to free up some cash, since both will be free agents at the end of the season. That’s the kind of thing the Mets should be doing, Harvey’s injury shouldn’t change the approach or expectations of that team for next season whatsoever. They need to focus on rebuilding, just as they were, and hope to start contending in a few years, when Harvey’s injury will be a distant memory.