New York Mets

Ten starts deep into a disastrous 2016 campaign for Matt Harvey leaves the New York Mets with a major decision to make.

After Tuesday’s debacle against the Washington Nationals (yes, it happened again), Matt Harvey – the once ace of the New York Mets – has left more questions about his terrible pitching form then answers.

Per SNY’s Steve Gelbs, Harvey has given up 5+ earned runs four times in 10 starts this year.

From 2012-2015, that happened 5 times (65 regular season starts). His final line from Tuesday: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.

Five earned runs in five innings won’t cut it for the man deemed the “Dark Knight.” A career high 20 total bases allowed isn’t going to get the job done, my grandma knows that. That 6.08 ERA Harvey owns after nearly two months of the baseball season is a number you expect to see from the Jon Niese’s of the world.

This situation leaves one major question for Mets management: Where do we go from here? 

I’ve got a brilliant idea for you, Terry Collins: Give Matt Harvey a try at first base.

Seriously, though, at this point in the season, it’s time for Harvey to take some time away from the baseball club. It’s a stunning turnaround for Matt. It’s crazy how every fifth day, once joyously called “Harvey Day” by the Flushing Faithful, now seems like an automatic loss as it approaches. This isn’t an issue of intestinal fortitude, rather, this is a legitimate dilemma.

After a rough spring training, I openly wondered whether Harvey could be staring down a disappointing season, but I’ll be the first to admit: I didn’t truly expect this to come to fruition.

Last Thursday, Harvey allowed a career high nine runs to the same Nationals, the team the Mets will be clawing with all season long for the National League East crown.

Realistically, that should have been the end to Harvey’s “rough patch.” Mets Manager Terry Collins should have taken the ball from Matt for good, leaving him to figure out his troubles and fix them. Instead, Collins offered to skip his next start and Harvey declined, choosing to face his troubles head on. He said:

“For me, taking time off isn’t going to do anything. It’s finding it on the mound. I’m not a quitter. I’m not going to just quit and put the ball down. It’s a fight.”

Some would say that decision was an honorable decision for Matt. Yet, most should be thinking: Enough of the “he wants the ball, let’s give him the ball” mentality.

What else is Harvey going to say? He’s never encountered a road block quite like this before, and at this point in time, Harvey is doing more harm than good. So, let him figure out his demons somewhere else and not at the team’s expense.

In my eyes, there are two routes the Mets can take here:

  1. Send Matt down to Triple A Las Vegas (sounds a little unproductive, huh?)
  2. Slap the ‘elbow soreness’ or “fatigue” tag on Harvey and put him on the DL.

The “send him to Vegas” crowd just wants Harvey gone, and gone fast. Although, sending him to the Las Vegas 51s is, simply put, a worse idea than Harvey’s pitching in 2016. His diminished velocity, questionable mechanics and damaged psyche will not be a good fit at the hitter’s paradise that is Vegas, even with the weakened competition.

Speaking of Harvey’s “damaged psyche,” the pitcher left the building early Tuesday.

He crept out of Citi Field immediately following the game, on a day when he probably should have never showed up, thus making himself unavailable to the media. Major League players need to hold themselves accountable and avoid doing what Harvey decided in his best interest. Harvey had the cojones to take the ball this game, but didn’t have the cojones to answer some questions. Regardless of his personal struggles, speaking to the media is in your job description.

Instead, Harvey left his teammates, like catcher Kevin Plawecki, out to dry, forcing them to answer on his behalf. Maybe he’s just saving his explanation so he can pour his feelings out in a comprehensive piece for Derek Jeter‘s Players’ Tribune. If you’re going to be the guy asking for the ball, you need to be the guy answering questions at the end of the day.

Anyway, there’s one realistic option left for the Mets to take with Harvey, option B: The “Phantom” Disabled List.

Put the 15-day tag on Harvey and he can do whatever needs to be done to fix his problems. Take time to think, work with pitching coaches, watch film, refine mechanics, etc. The DL choice provides the option for Harvey to make minor league starts on a rehab assignment, making the “Send him to Vegas” option completely expendable.

Regardless of what Mets management chooses, there’s only one thing left to say: See you in a month, Matt.

P.S. Mets Nation, beware of this graphic below, comparing Harvey’s start this season to Stephen Strasburg‘s beginning to the 2015 season, because, you know, they’re both Tommy John pitcher. NEWS FLASH: Strasburg had his TJ surgery in 2010. As SNY’s Marc Malusis points out, his second full year removed from TJ surgery was back in 2013. Yes, the starts are eerily similar, but we’re dealing with a totally different monster.


UPDATE: Mets announced Matt Harvey will make his next start against the White Sox on Memorial Day. A potential DL stint will have to wait until Tuesday.

NEXT: It’s Vacation Time For Matt Harvey

Jeremy Fialkow was born and raised in Miami, FLA, but currently studies at the University of Maryland. When he's not studying hard, he can be found supporting his sometimes hopeless NY teams: Knicks, Mets, Jets, and Isles. Your sympathy is appreciated.