In the wake of the Matt Harvey drama, Mets manager Terry Collins was asked on Monday if Harvey’s teammates respect him. Per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, Collins said, “I can’t answer that. I don’t know.” Collins said he didn’t want to speak for the whole team.
Collins said more with what he didn’t say, which would have been some variation of the word “yes” in response to that question. This seems to imply that there’s some internal strife within the Mets’ organization concerning Harvey. As we learned yesterday, Harvey’s three-day suspension for no-showing at Citi Field on Saturday was influenced in some part by previous unnamed incidents. So, the right-hander is neither making friends in the front office nor the clubhouse, it sounds.
As Seth Walder of the New York Daily News reported on Sunday, infielder Jose Reyes said of Harvey, “We’re disappointed. We have to understand, we’re employees. You have to come to your job every day. We count on him.” He added, “Everybody knows here what the rules are. When you miss that, that’s not acceptable.” (I guess everyone’s going to ignore the irony of Reyes criticizing anyone for not following the rules.)
Former Met Paul Lo Duca tweeted criticism of Harvey, saying “he let his teammates down more than anyone.” Bob Ojeda, also a former Met and current SNY analyst, said, “Very disappointing the relationship between the Mets and Matt Harvey has become so toxic.”
The Mets plan to have Harvey return to the rotation to start on Friday against the Brewers in Milwaukee, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets prefer Harvey to return to start on the road rather than pitch at home on Wednesday to avoid a “hostile environment.”
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.