OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics have claimed their latest reclamation project, this time signing former New York Mets ace Matt Harvey to a minor league deal.
Harvey was released by the Los Angeles Angels – who had signed him to a one-year, $11 million contract in the offseason – three weeks ago after he posted a 7.09 ERA in 12 starts. He will report to Triple-A Las Vegas as he tries to make an impression on his new club, which scored two runs in six innings against him on March 29 – a 6-2 loss and Oakland’s only matchup against Harvey as an Angel.
Once an All-Star and a cornerstone for the Mets, Harvey has not been good since New York won the NL pennant in 2015 when he logged a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts. The year before, he had a miniscule 2.27 ERA in 26 starts and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in his first full season. However, after 2015, the right-hander’s ERA skyrocketed and has not been below 4.50 in a season since.
Though the A’s have had plenty of past success reviving pitchers’ careers – see: Rich Hill, Bartolo Colon, Jesse Chavez and more recently Edwin Jackson and Trevor Cahill – it is unlikely that Harvey figures it out in time to make an impact in a major league season with only a month and a half to go.
“This is a place free agents look to,” said manager Bob Melvin. “We have resurrected quite a few careers.”
As it pertains to the 2019 season, Harvey may be more valuable as a mentor to young developing Triple-A players such as A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo – who will pitch 60-plus pitches in a rehab start today.
There also appears to be no place for Harvey in the rotation as Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, Chris Bassitt and Tanner Roark all seem firmly entrenched in their spots and Homer Bailey is trending in the right direction after seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
Add in the fact that ace Sean Manaea is set to return soon from a shoulder surgery that has sidelined him for the duration of the 2019 season – he will make another rehab start in Las Vegas on Sunday – and Harvey would virtually have to recapture his Cy Young form to crack the A’s pitching staff.
Were Harvey to defy the odds and earn a promotion to the big league squad, he would be playoff-eligible since he joined the Oakland organization before August 31.