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The Yankees should take a chance on Matt Harvey

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Could the Dark Knight bounce back in the Bronx?

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Yankees need pitching help. Jordan Montgomery’s injury left the team scrambling. Domingo German occupies the fifth starter spot for now, but that’s a less-than-ideal situation for a contending team. Top prospect Justus Sheffield recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton, but he doesn’t figure to be option until the stretch run at earliest. In fact, Jason wrote yesterday about how Brian Cashman has to do something to pad the pitching depth before the trade deadline. If only an interesting arm were available.

Wouldn’t you know it, but moments later a most intriguing option hit the market. Reports surfaced indicating that Matt Harvey, the former Mets ace, was now available. The team approached Harvey about optioning him to the minor leagues. The veteran right-hander declined, and as a result, the Mets designated him for assignment. Just like that, the Dark Knight era for the Mets is over.

Harvey, 29, has struggled mercilessly this season. He owned a 7.00 ERA with a 5.71 FIP over 27 innings. That’s right in line with his disastrous 2017. In fact, he’s been awful since the start of the 2016 campaign. The right-hander looked nothing like the pitcher who rose to prominence in the years prior. Consider these numbers:

  • Harvey 2016 - 2018: 5.93 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 6.91 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 1.48 HR/9 (212.1 IP)
  • Harvey 2012 - 2015: 2.53 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 9.46 K/9, 1.98 BB/9, 0.63 HR/9 (427 IP)

That’s not to mention his lengthy injury history. It includes all of the greatest hits: Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet syndrome, and a stress injury to his scapula. It’s been a long time since Harvey had a healthy and effective season.

With all of that in mind, the Yankees should still roll the dice and make a play to acquire him. Why? Because the Bombers desperately need the pitching depth. I like German as much as the next guy, but Harvey has the upside here. Yes, he’s working with diminished stuff, but the Yankees have had success reinventing pitchers like that. Think CC Sabathia or, if you want to go back a few years, Freddy Garcia.

Credit: Brooks Baseball

If the Yankees can get him back to a fraction of his former self, he would stabilize the back of the rotation. It would allow German to return to the bullpen and give New York some breathing room. Who knows? They could end up with an even better pitching staff than when Montgomery was healthy.

Of course it’s impossible to talk about Harvey without acknowledging the extra-curricular activities. His reputation precedes him. He will never receive a teammate of the year award. That said, I’m not worried about him disrupting clubhouse chemistry. The Yankees have a number of players with good heads on their shoulders. If he proves too much of a nuisance, let him walk. This organization navigated the Alex Rodriguez era, though. They can handle Harvey.

He figures to come on the cheap, too.

For what should be a negligible cost, the Yankees have to take a chance. If it doesn’t work, move on. This opportunity may be too good to pass up. The Bombers have a hole in their rotation and a real interesting arm hit the market. The stars lined up. Give it a try, Yankees.