New York Mets

Sandy Alderson

Sandy Alderson is not going to “roll over” for Scott Boras and shut down Matt Harvey

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Earlier today we learned that the Mets and Scott Boras are in the midst of a dispute over Matt Harvey’s workload down the stretch. Boras thinks that Harvey should be shut down at 180 innings — he’s currently at 166 — and the Mets believing that his workload was never subject to a hard innings cap and that Boras bringing that up now is out of bounds.

This is not the first time we’ve seen this, of course. The Washington Nationals had a young ace, Stephen Strasburg, coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2012. The Nats said early and often that year that Strasburg, also a Boras client, was subject to a hard innings cap. And he was. They shut him down, he wasn’t available for the playoffs and to this day many people blame that shutdown for the Nats’ failure to advance. Heck, some people even blamed the shutdown on the Nats’ subsequent struggles in the next season.

I was not a big fan of Strasburg’s shutdown, but it’s unreasonable to suggest that his shutdown was the reason the Nats failed to advance in the playoffs (they had much bigger problems and the guy who took his place in the rotation pitched pretty darn well). The notion that the Nats 2013 problems were the result of the shutdown is downright ludicrous. But it did become a big story that sucked up a lot of oxygen that late summer and early fall and people still talk about it today. They’ll no doubt be comparing the Harvey situation to the Strasburg situation in the coming days and weeks, depending on how it’s handled.

But however that shakes out, it seems that Sandy Alderson is not going to take the path Mike Rizzo took and won’t be getting on Scott Boras’ train any time soon:

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Nor would I, assuming I had a plan in place to begin with. Which Alderson said he did and which only now Boras is second guessing.

With the caveat — a big caveat — that in no instance would it be wise to ignore doctors along the way, If I were Alderson, I’d be pretty loathe to give Boras the time of day on this stuff. I’d talk to my pitcher and ask him his thoughts and, assuming he’s wired the same way every other athlete is wired, I’d assume he’d be on board with doing whatever is in the Mets’ best interests to win a championship this year. Which is totally within this team’s grasp.

That doesn’t mean being reckless or pitching him too much. Heck, the Mets have a big lead at the moment and can afford to skip him or rest him quite a bit. But it certainly doesn’t mean shutting down one of the best young pitchers in the game simply because his agent wants you to.

Scott Boras and the Mets disagree on what Matt Harvey’s innings limit is

Matt Harvey
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Because things are going great for the Mets and because the Mets and their fans are, apparently, not allowed to enjoy themselves for five minutes before someone brings up some looming disaster, controversy or anxiety, we have this today from Jon Heyman about how the Mets and Scott Boras are disagreeing about Matt Harvey’s innings limit.

Boras says that Harvey’s doctors, which include the famous Dr. James Andrews, have determined that Harvey has a hard innings limit of 180. Sandy Alderson says that everyone talked before the season and that the limit is a “soft” limit based on facts and circumstances and leverage and pressure and all manner of other things.

The fun part, this controversy just arose now because of an email Boras sent to Alderson a couple of days ago:

Meantime, Alderson, who sounded exasperated by the whole debate, suggested he was floored when he received an email from Boras late last month setting what he saw as a new limit when he said the team has proceeded cautiously in terms of pitch limits (he’s had no games over 115 pitches and only went over 110 pitches once) and everything has been going so smoothly. “For a guy to say to us on the 29th of August ‘180 innings and then you’re going to shut him down …’ don’t call me seven months later and tell me you’re pulling the rug out from under me, not after all we’ve done to protect the player.”

For what it’s worth, Harvey has 166 and a third innings on the odometer. Which gives him two starts, really, until 180. And Boras is saying that 180 is a hard limit which includes the playoffs. Which the Mets seem pretty certain to reach.

Where’s my popcorn?

Bryce Harper walks in all four of his plate appearances, scores four runs

FILE - In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper pauses in the dugout during a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park in Washington. Mike Trout turned 24 on Friday, and he and Bryce Harper could become the youngest pair of MVPs in major league history if they win this year.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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Bryce Harper didn’t have an official at-bat tonight, but he still made a major impact in the Nationals’ 15-1 blowout victory over the Braves.

Harper walked in all four of his plate appearances and scored four runs. One of the walks came with the bases loaded, so he was also credited with an RBI. This is actually the second time this season that Harper has walked four times and scored four runs in the same game. He also pulled it off on August 18 against the Rockies. According to ESPN Sports & Info, Harper the first player to do it twice in the same season since Dom DiMaggio in 1950.

Perhaps more amazingly, Harper didn’t swing at any of the 20 pitches he saw tonight. According to ESPN Sports & Info, that’s the second-most pitches without a swing in a game over the past 10 seasons. Juan Uribe saw 21 pitches without a swing in a game in 2010.

Harper is batting .331/.464/.627 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI in 126 games this season. He leads the National League in batting average and leads the majors in on-base percentage and OPS. Oh, and he’s 22 years old.