The Mets kicked off their Sunday afternoon by announcing that Matt Harvey would not make his scheduled start against the Marlins, and would be suspended for three days. Then they had to explain that the suspension had nothing to do with a big ol’ dildo.
According to a bunch of anonymous sources duking it out across a range of reporters, Harvey played golf on Saturday, and then didn’t bother going to the stadium after telling the team that he was suffering from migraines. Someone with Harvey’s interest in mind says it was a “communication” issue, but the Mets are fed up either way. File it away to #LOLMets and the tabloids.
Harvey has reportedly filed a grievance in response to the suspension, which is a pretty clear indication that the relationship between Harvey and the Mets is as damaged as it has ever been, perhaps beyond repair. It’s crazy to think there was a time when Harvey and the Mets were at peace.
In 2015, he was stuck with an innings limit imposed by his agent (which pissed off the Mets), had his first start of the season held back so the Mets could sell tickets, missed a mandatory workout because he was “stuck in traffic”—an incident oddly reminiscent of yesterday’s saga—and stretched himself a little too thin by demanding return to the mound for the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series, which the Mets lost in extras after Harvey put the tying runs on base.
In 2016, he became tabloid fodder for developing a bladder infection that everyone made a lot of jokes about, was booed off the mound by fans, criticized as bad and pudgy by the media, and was called out for a “lapse in judgment” by his own teammate David Wright. He (mercifully) underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last summer, and showed up looking skinny and ready to work this season.
But Harvey’s been pretty bad so far, posting a 5.14 ERA in six starts, and striking out just 20 guys in 35 innings. Some early season stumbles wouldn’t be a big deal if the rest of the Mets’ super-rotation was intact, but injuries have eaten up any slack Harvey might have been afforded. Noah Syndergaard won’t even be throwing for the next six weeks, and right now the Mets don’t look like a playoff team.
Apparently the need for a quality start was not enough for the Mets to ignore on Harvey’s absence on Saturday. Fans who showed up for a (chilly) day at the ballpark on Sunday and expected to see Harvey instead got to watch call-up Adam Wilk give up three homers as the Mets got shutout 7-0.
The Mets could have easily given Harvey the ball on Sunday, kept the issue internal (or at least tried), and saved his suspension for the days between starts. Instead, they seemed hell-bent on sending Harvey a message by embarrassing him in public. An anonymous team source has since told the Daily News that Harvey “has some growing up to do.”
Harvey is under team control through the 2018 season, but with the way things are going it seems unlikely that anything fruitful will come of his remaining time in New York. Watching the Mets and Harvey struggle to get along is like watching two friends in a stale, bitter relationship tough it out only because their lease isn’t up for another two years. All parties—fans especially included—are just waiting for it to end.