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The Black Knight leaves New York under a black cloud, seeking renewed glory with a team enduring one of the blackest times in its history. The symmetry of Matt Harvey-to-Cincinnati is overwhelming. Almost as overwhelming as Harvey’s fastball used to be. dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
Remember the Harvey that lit up New York in 2013 and 2015? Who averaged a strikeout an inning while throwing a fastball as electric as Times Square? This Harvey ain’t that Harvey. dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
The Reds sent their “people’’ to watch Harvey pitch for the Mets this year. Harvey appeared in eight games. In four starts, he allowed 14 runs in 21 innings. In four relief appearances, he allowed seven runs in six innings. At least he’s consistent. dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
Since 2015, Harvey has lost four miles an hour off his fastball, which isn’t encouraging when all you’ve ever been is a fastball pitcher. When, in fact, your whole identity is wrapped up in throwing 96 mph.
Reds General Manager Dick Williams judged that Harvey’s problem was “mechanics.’’
Hmm. More likely, his problem then was throwing too hard, too young, too often. His problem now is realizing he’ll never be that guy again, and that if he wants to be a different yet equally successful pitcher, he has to change his tactics entirely.
In dealing Devin Mesoraco to the Mets, the Reds hope is Harvey will re-invent himself, with the help of pitching coach Danny Darwin, and by July 31 be useful enough to bring a couple prospects in the trade. Re-invention has happened recently: Jake Arrieta, Charlie Morton. But it takes more than a couple months. Harvey is a free agent after this year. dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
It’s a curious trade and as such, fairly fitting for the 2018 Reds, who continue to use a four-man outfield rotation and believe Amir Garrett is best suited to pitch the 6th inning.
Harvey was a diva when he was great and difficult when he wasn’t. At 29, he’s not exactly a role model for the blooming kiddie-corps rotation the Reds envision. Harvey has always enjoyed a good time, and his former home offered plenty of room for off-hours creativity. Good luck with that in Cincinnati.
As recently as last week, Harvey was seen partying in Los Angeles the night before the Mets played in San Diego. When informed of that bit of news, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he wasn’t surprised. The Mets suspended Harvey for three games last year, for no-showing a home game. He was in Manhattan the night before. dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
The Reds want him as a starting pitcher, which is odd, given the time and hype they’ve put into the young pitchers they desperately hope will succeed. Harvey could take Brandon Finnegan’s rotation spot, 7.00 ERA and all. What happens when Anthony DeSclafani returns? dfa baseball, devin mesoraco trade, devin mesoraco contract
Plus, there’s the little matter of home runs and Great American Small Park. Harvey has allowed 27 longballs in his last 120 innings. Beset with all manner of ailments in recent years, Harvey now has whiplash to worry about.
The Reds didn’t even save any money on the deal. Apparently, they’re still paying all of the rest of Mesoraco’s $13 million this year.
Mesoraco is a sad case. He is a nice, solid kid and until his body betrayed him, he was destined to be a catching fixture here. You could argue that the $28 million the Reds will have paid him since 2015 – and the 277 at-bats, seven homers and 20 RBI they’ve received since – has been a bigger burden on them than the $105 million they will have paid Homer Bailey if he completes the 6-year deal he signed in 2014.
Given their abysmal record, it is fair to question everything the Reds do. This deal? Eh. All it does is shuffle the deck chairs. Welcome, Dark Knight. The local black cloud awaits.