Matt Harvey has already logged 178.1 innings of work this season and he is on track to make another seven starts on his current schedule. The Mets, however, have made it abundantly clear throughout this season that they will attempt to limit his workload as the end of the season draws near.
Josh Vitale of MLB.com cites a few different methods the Mets may use to achieve their goal:
Collins said the Mets have looked into having Harvey back off bullpen sessions in between starts and back off his running program. The club has also talked about giving him extra days of rest where possible and even skipping him in the rotation.
“You’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every five days helps us,” Collins said. “But we still know down the road, we have to keep this guy healthy.”
The Mets would love to see those Citi Field seats filled up on days Harvey starts, and they would also love it if Harvey happened to come home with some hardware during the off-season when the Baseball Writers Association of America reveals the results of the NL Cy Young balloting. Clayton Kershaw appears to be the heavy favorite, but with some of the results we have seen in recent years, one cannot take being a heavy favorite for granted. If the Mets cut into Harvey’s innings or if they simply cut his season short at some point in September, they would make his case for the award less compelling.
Harvey has a 2.27 ERA on the year and leads the league with 191 strikeouts. He has, however, started to falter lately. In his last three starts, spanning 18.2 innings, he has a 3.86 ERA while allowing 27 hits and striking out only 13 batters.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.