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:
Person close to Alderson: “Sandy won’t roll over for Boras (re:Harvey) the way Rizzo did (w/Strasburg). He’s not changing the plan now.”
— John Harper (@NYDNHarper) September 4, 2015
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.