Mets manager Terry Collins put a swift end to speculation on Matt Harvey’s immediate future, at least for the time being. The righty will make his next scheduled start, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to report. “We saw some real positive things early in the game [Tuesday] night,” Collins told the media. “When he hit a wall in the fifth inning, I said I wasn’t surprised. I told Matt about it, I said I was proud of the fact the way he prepared for it and we saw some positive things early in the game.” Collins maintains that the Mets are focused on the big picture with Harvey, saying that the right-hander is “too big a piece to write him off” or to be put in the bullpen. MLBTR readers weighed in this morning on what the Mets should do, with a slight plurality preferring to see the club skip a Harvey start rather than maintaining the status quo or taking more drastic action.
A few more notes on the NL East…
- Yoenis Cespedes has been as good as anyone could have hoped since returning to the Mets, and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wonders whether there’s any chance of the sides getting back together on a new deal. Cespedes seems well on his way to returning to the open market via his opt-out clause, of course, having gotten off to a tremendous start to the season in advance of a considerably weaker free agent class than the one in which he found himself last winter. The 30-year-old is batting .309/.387/.678 and leading the National League in OPS, slugging percentage and RBIs while holding the MLB lead with 15 home runs. Assistant GM John Ricco said that there’s been no talk between the two sides about working out a new deal, though he also acknowledged: “There’ll be a time and place for that and I think when that time comes, we’ll see what happens.” Davidoff suggests multiple hypothetical offers the Mets could make to Cespedes now, though the slugging outfielder could ultimately find himself positioned as the top free agent on the market, especially now that division-rival Stephen Strasburg is off the market following a seven-year extension.
- Left-hander Joe Beimel had a visit with Dr. James Andrews after his recent minor league agreement with the Marlins fell through due to physical concerns, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (links to Twitter). Andrews gave Beimel’s shoulder and elbow a clean bill of health, though clearly there was something that gave Miami some degree of pause. Of course, for a 39-year-old veteran of 13 big league seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some degree of wear and tear in his arm. Beimel has pitched well with the Mariners across the past two seasons, working to a combined 3.12 ERA in 92 1/3 innings and holding lefties to a .226/.281/.381 batting line and whiffing nearly 18 percent of the same-handed opponents he faced in that time.
- Nationals right-hander Shawn Kelley has quietly been one of the game’s most dominant relievers in recent years, writes MLB.com’s Mike Petriello. As Petriello notes, the Nationals’ new setup man, who signed a three-year contract in free agency this winter, has the lowest ERA in baseball across the past calendar year, and while some may think his dominance has come out of nowhere, he’s actually been strong dating back to 2013, Petriello points out. Only 11 pitchers registered a higher strikeout percentage in that time. Kelley is enjoying his best season yet, and while he hasn’t altered his pitch selection much, Petriello explains that Kelley has significantly improved the command of his fastball, moving the pitch more to the edge of the zone as opposed to the center of the plate, resulting in more strikeouts and more pop-ups. The bottom-line result for Kelley has been a 1.13 ERA with a 22-to-3 K/BB ratio in 16 innings this season