Why on Earth did the New York Mets tender a contract to Matt Harvey?
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Mets tendered a contract to Matt Harvey, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Let’s drill deeper.

The New York Mets have announced they are tendering a contract offer to Matt Harvey for the 2018 season. It will probably cost them in the neighborhood of $6 million for his services as a starting pitcher in the 2018 rotation. That’s chicken feed for a starter, and it falls in line with the Mets desire to get the most for less.

But that part of the story is irrelevant, or at least it should be.

Because if the Mets organization is truly attempting to move forward to a new day for their fans, why would they want to remain tied to such a disappointing and underachieving player who was once the poster boy for their team?

Matt Harvey: Off the deep end again

Harvey has a new girlfriend. Oh yes, it’s a big deal. The story is plastered all over the internet, complete with bikini pictures in this story and God knows what you can you can find elsewhere. I’m happy for Matt. Everyone needs love in their life.

What I need, though, and what I suspect most Mets fans’ need, is an announcement — just as an example, from the Harvey camp that he has plans to arrive in Mets camp in the spring two weeks early to get ready for the upcoming season.

Except that for Harvey, there may not be next year and whether he knows it or not, everything depends on this year.

Harvey is a client of Scott Boras. Say what you will about Boras, but he does protect and represent his players better than anyone. The man built an entire complex in South Florida, joining the one he has for his clients in California to use for workouts and baseball-related activities.

He’s not a slouch, but from where I sit he has failed to represent Harvey since day one with some tough love his client has needed. Or maybe it has more to do with the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

As recently as this past season, Harvey found himself the owner of a three-day suspension for conduct detrimental to the team in May 2017. The incident included, according to ESPN (via ABC) an unprecedented “in-home” welfare check on the embattled star.

One of two things is true. First, the Mets know something we don’t know and Matt Harvey is going to regain his status as a major league starter to be reckoned with in 2018.

Or, they simply need someone who can eat up some innings because they don’t have a replacement ready in their minor league system.

Given the current disarray in the Mets organization, by default, I’d be on the latter. Look, I want Matt Harvey to succeed because I want the Mets to succeed. I have empathy for the injuries but no sympathy for him when he constantly shoots himself in the foot with his immature and counterproductive behavior.

It’s all on the line

Harvey, who will turn 29 during the 2018 season, is a sub-.500 pitcher (34-35) who has made more than 100 starts as a major leaguer. That’s nothing to write home about as he enters his free agency next year at this time.

Realism occasionally sneaks in when it comes to Harvey. The new manager of the Mets, Mickey Callaway, had this interesting take as seen in this video dialing down considerably on what he expects from the former ace.

Callaway gets his chance with Harvey this season to “get through” to him in a way no one has before.

The Mets owe Matt Harvey nothing. They’ve been patient beyond credibility with his antics over the years. If they had any guts, they would have made the divorce final now. Instead, they are kicking the can down the road to the next offseason when they will surely move on.

But since they have him, why shouldn’t we expect him to play as well on the field as he does on Page Six? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

We’ll find out this season how much baseball means to Matt Harvey. And when we look back at the journey Harvey has taken through baseball, we realize the game is more than strikes and balls, double-plays and assists. Human beings with all their attributes and failures play this game for a living. Often, they live in a fishbowl.

Matt Harvey is still in the fishball. It would seem, at least from a distance, the game has become a grind and can no longer be fun for him. And that’s too bad. Because at one time Harvey was indeed the Joe Namath of baseball in New York. It would be nice to see him regain that title, both on and off the field.

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