Mets ponder ways to limit Matt Harvey’s workload

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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.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.