Matt Harvey’s return to the team that originally drafted him could not have gone any worse. The Los Angeles Angels selected Harvey in the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB draft out of Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut. This past offseason, the Angels gave Harvey a one year deal and viewed him as a reclamation project. On Friday, the Angels pulled the plug on the reclamation project, as they designated the 30 year old right hander for assignment.
The Angels gave Harvey a one year prove it deal over the offseason worth 11 million dollars in the hope that Harvey could continue to improve. Harvey was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on May 9, 2018, where he joined their starting rotation. Across 24 starts, he held a respectable 4.50 ERA, while posting a promising 4.24 FIP in the extremely hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. After moving from New York to Cincinnati, he showed an increase in fastball velocity and strikeouts and a decrease in walks. This led many to believe that Harvey was on the way to recovering what made him so dominant in his 2013 All-Star season.
Then, this season, Harvey started 12 games for the Halos, posting a 3-5 record across 59.2 innings pitched with a 7.09 ERA , 1.542 WHIP, and a uninspiring -0.3 fWAR. Harvey’s underlying numbers also did not help his cause, as he posted a concerning 6.35 FIP. He had showed promise in his first start back from the injured list, going 5 ⅔ innings and allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, and only one earned run. That optimism quickly fizzled as Harvey allowed 6 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings pitched Thursday night against the Astros.
The Angels viewed Harvey as a reclamation project, and while a return to “Dark Knight” status was unlikely, they hoped he could be an effective starter. Though Harvey missed the 2014 season with Tommy John surgery, he was viewed as one of the best starters in baseball for 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons, including starting the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field.
2012-2013, 2015 with New York Mets
25-18, 427 IP, 2.53 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.00 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9,
2016-2019 with Mets, Reds, and Angels
19-31, 400 IP, 5.65 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 1.468 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9
The numbers Harvey has displayed over the past 4 years make you wonder if he will ever land a major league job. His track record from his first 3 full seasons in New York made him an enticing option, but it did not work out for the dark knight in Anaheim.
By designating Harvey the Angels will rely on Griffin Canning, Felix Pena, Andrew Heaney, Jamie Barria, and Jose Suarez down the stretch. The Angels currently sit 5.5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot in the American League, and could look to buy starting pitching. Just like many other teams, depending on the next 10 games the Angels could become buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Regardless of their identity, ridding themselves of Harvey seems to be the right move if the team is looking to improve from here.