Matt Harvey Rumors

Injury Notes: Harvey, Lee, Hart, Beltran

Rehabbing Mets ace Matt Harvey hopes to return to big league action at the end of this season, the righty tells Tom Verducci of SI.com. While Harvey acknowledged that he would not push to return before being cleared, he said he wants to re-establish himself on the hill before the year is out. “I just want the peace of mind,” said Harvey. “I want to go back out there and know I still have the stuff to strike out major league hitters.” For his part, club GM Sandy Alderson sounded a cautious note, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin“Not being a medical doctor and not really faced with that decision previously, I’ll reserve judgment,” he said. “But the one thing we don’t want to do is be put in a situation where someone — Matt, or anyone else — has a setback because we’ve pushed the natural recovery processes further than we should have.”

Here’s the latest on some injury situations around the game that could potentially have transactional implications:

  • Cliff Lee of the Phillies underwent an MRI today on his left elbow, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. The durable and excellent lefty has been throwing through elbow tenderness for the last several weeks, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the discomfort increased in his last start. The 35-year-old has been diagnosed with a flexor pronator strain, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, though a full assessment will await the results of the MRI. Needless to say, a prolonged absence or ongoing injury questions could not only have ramifications for the Phils’ ability to stay in the post-season race, but could heavily impact the summer’s starting pitching trade market. Lee, who has 21-club no-trade rights, is owed $25MM this year and next before a 2016 vesting/club option that comes with a $12.5MM buyout.
  • Mariners first baseman/outfielder/DH Corey Hart is expected to miss four to six weeks, reports MLB.com’s Greg Johns (via Twitter). That news — and Stephen Drew‘s signing with the Red Sox today — has fueled calls for Seattle to take another look at re-signing first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales. Should Morales stay a free agent until the upcoming amateur draft, of course, he will be free to sign anywhere without costing his new team a pick, and without returning a compensatory choice to the M’s.
  • Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran still hopes to play through the bone spur in his elbow, but if surgery is required he would be out for about two months, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). Beltran saw Dr. James Andrews today, who confirmed the original diagnosis. It appears that the question at this point is whether or not Beltran can deal with the pain while playing at full speed.

New York Notes: Mets, Harvey, Yankees, Cano

Here's the latest from both Queens and the Bronx…

  • The Mets' financial situation is examined by Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of the New York Times, as offseason spending on the likes of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon basically just amounted to a reinvestment of the payroll that was coming off the team's books from 2013.
  • Matt Harvey is under the Mets' control through the 2018 season, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks ahead to whether the Mets can address their payroll issues in time to sign Harvey to an extension.  If not, Harvey would be a prime free agent target for the Yankees, especially since Harvey grew up a Bombers fan and loves pitching in New York.  Scott Boras, Harvey's agent, feels the Mets have the resources to keep the righty in the fold: “They have David Wright signed [long-term], and in four years the idea is they can have another iconic New York player signed [long-term].  This is New York. It is about having iconic players.The bigger issue is the Mets have all the benefits of their market to keep an iconic player — the City, a relatively new stadium, a TV network. That fits the mold of good business in New York.”
  • It’s like growing up playing in your backyard. You never want to leave that place, those guys,” Robinson Cano tells GQ's Daniel Riley about his time with the Yankees. “The three high points as a Yankee for me: when [Derek] Jeter got 3,000 hits, Andy [Pettitte]’s last game, and Mariano [Rivera]’s final ceremony. Those are the things that stick in your mind, in your heart.”  The new Mariners second baseman also discusses his hiring of CAA and Roc Nation Sports as his new agents, and his life growing up in San Pedro de Macoris.
  • If Michael Pineda is healthy and pitches well in 2014, it wouldn't be a bad idea for the Yankees to explore trading the young right-hander for an everyday player, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues writes as part of a reader mailbag post.  Pineda's history of shoulder problems could make it hard for the Yankees to rely on Pineda in the long term, so selling high for infield help could make some sense.

NL East Notes: Phillies, Harvey

Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown writes that the Phillies-Ben Wetzler saga is a reminder that the current system, in which NCAA rules permit players to retain "advisors" but not agents who personally negotiate with MLB clubs, is broken. Commenting for the article, Scott Boras noted that "anyone in America can have an attorney –- a representative –- for a complicated negotiation, except an athlete who signed a letter of intent to an NCAA institution." It's time for a change in the rules, Boras argues, as "teams annually solicit and participate in a process where they're knowingly violating NCAA rules and jeopardizing the student-athlete eligibility." Here's more from around the NL East:

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the incident in comments today, telling The Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb and other reporters that he isn't worried about how it will impact the club's reputation. "I think people know we do things professionally and the way we go about our business," he said. "So I think our reputation is very good." Amaro didn't address his role in the process beyond saying that he was "aware" Wetzler was being reported.
  • Bobby Abreu's strong performance in Venezuelan winter ball set him up for a tryout with the Phillies, reports Gelb. Abreu is almost guaranteed to make the club's roster as a bench bat if he perfomes adequately in Spring Training.
  • Mets ace Matt Harvey threw for the first time since Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com's Marty Noble writes. The Mets would prefer to keep the story of Harvey's progress quiet, however.


Matt Harvey To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

The Mets have announced that ace Matt Harvey has elected to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery later this month.

Harvey's absence for the 2014 season will be a crushing blow, as the 24-year-old was worth a robust 6.1 wins above replacement (per Fangraphs) in just 178 1/3 innings this season. Harvey pitched to an electric 2.27 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate over the course of his first full season at the Major League level in 2013.

The Mets were expected to be aggressive players on the free agent market with an eye toward contending in 2014 with David Wright healthy at third base and a young pitching core fronted by Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jonathon Niese. They still appear poised to make a splash on the free agent market this winter, though the news that they will officially be without Harvey in 2014 has to significantly dampen expectations for the team's ultimate performance next season.

Though the team has numerous young pitching options, the confirmation that Harvey will be sidelined for the entirety of the 2014 campaign could increase the likelihood that the team adds a veteran starting pitcher to a wishlist that reportedly already includes Shin-Soo Choo.


NL East Notes: Harvey, Werth, Halladay

Earlier today, we learned that Marlins owner Jeffery Loria seems to be taking the lead on baseball decisions as rumors swirl about the job security of president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest.  Here's more out of the NL East..

  • Yesterday we learned that for the time being, Mets ace Matt Harvey will try to avoid Tommy John surgery by rehabbing his throwing elbow this fall.  However, the Mets' statement on the situation seemed to take a more glass-half-empty view of the plan.  According to the club, doctors determined that "surgical repair would likely be necessary, unless [Harvey] could complete a throwing program free of elbow-related symptoms."  
  • Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation wonders what Jayson Werth would make on the open market if he were a free agent this winter.  Werth's seven-year, $126MM deal looked like an overpay on the part of the Nationals three years ago, but he's in the middle of a surprisingly strong campaign, hitting .320/.397/.533 with 23 homers.  He's owed $83MM over the next four seasons and while he wouldn't get that much if he were headed towards free agency, Brisbee could see $65MM on a four-year deal.
  • Last night could have been Roy Halladay's final home start in a Phillies uniform.  Todd Zolecki of MLB.com asks if he should be brought back for 2014 and concludes that he would be worth it on a low-cost one-year deal with incentives.  

NL East Notes: Harvey, Collins, Johnson, Valencia

The plan of action could change later this offseason, but for now, Matt Harvey has decided to try and avoid undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The young Mets ace will try to rehab his right elbow for a month or two and then throw to see if he bounces back well from the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Here's more on the Mets and the rest of the NL East…

  • Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog isn't on board with the Mets bringing Terry Collins back for next season and beyond.  The Mets have stopped short of officially saying that Collins will manage the team in 2014, but all indications are that he will be back in the dugout.
  • Look for Elliot Johnson to be back with the Braves in a super-utility role next season, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com within his latest column.  Atlanta is quite pleased with their August waiver claim on the 29-year-old as he has done a capable job of filling in for second baseman Dan Uggla.
  • More from Rosenthal's piece, as he writes that Danny Valencia’s strong play with the Orioles could make him an appealing option for the Marlins, who will be looking for help at third base this winter.  It doesn't hurt that Valencia has strong ties to the area as he was born in Miami, grew up in nearby Boca Raton, and attended the University of Miami.
  • The Phillies are a prime example of how fortunes can change quickly in the game of baseball, writes MLB.com's Paul Hagen.  The Phillies opted to keep their aging core in tact this season despite being bogged down by injuries.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Mets Rumors: Choo, Ellsbury, Tejada, Harvey

Yesterday it was reported that the Mets are likely to target Shin-Soo Choo as a free agent this offseason. Choo projects as one of the top names available and would serve as a long-term upgrade in right field, should the Mets be able to entice him more than the host of other suitors Choo figures to have. Here's more on Choo and other Mets-related issues…

  • General manager Sandy Alderson told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he "certainly [hasn't] ruled out a big-ticket item" on the free agent market this winter, though he didn't mention Choo by name. One Mets-connected person told Heyman, however, that Choo "fits the bill" in terms of what the team is looking for.
  • Also in that piece, Heyman adds that Jacoby Ellsbury isn't likely to be a prime target for the Mets because they're pleased with the emergence of Juan Lagares in center. While Lagares' .264/.301/.385 batting line has hardly set the world on fire, he's been worth three wins above replacement, per Fangraphs, due to his incredible center field defense.
  • Finally from Heyman's article, one top Mets executive expressed relief that the team didn't end up signing Michael Bourn last offseason. The Mets, of course, pursued Bourn heavily and lobbied to be able to keep their No. 11 overall pick in signing him, but Cleveland swooped in with a four-year, $48MM offer and landed the speedster.
  • Ruben Tejada's play for the remainder of the season rest is important, because it might mean one less position that needs to be filled this winter, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Yesterday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wrote that the Mets are likely to explore external options this winter and they may even shop Tejada.
  • Matt Harvey told reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, that he's optimistic about his chances to avoid Tommy John surgery. Harvey is slated to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, after which Andrews will confer with Dr. David Altchek on the best course of action for the Mets ace.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


NL East Notes: Ruiz, Harvey, Collins, Sandberg

Mets manager Terry Collins appears to be safe for next season, but GM Sandy Alderson told Jim Bowden (Twitter link) and Jim Duquette of SiriusXM that an official determination won't be made until after the current season.  However, Alderson gave yet another strong endorsement for the experienced skipper (link).  "He's done an excellent job with the resources he's had, [we're] very pleased with what he's done," said the GM.  Here's more out of the NL East..

  • The Phillies should re-sign catcher Carlos Ruiz because of his offensive resurgence and because the alternatives aren't ideal, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Ruiz told reporters, including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, he has not heard from the Phillies about next year but is open to negotiate whenever they want. "Everything depends on the Phillies. If they want to talk before the end of the season, we're OK with that. If not, we'll wait and see what we've got in the market. It's not in my hands, you know?" said the 34-year-old, who will become a free agent at the end of the season.
  • Alderson told Bowden and Duquette that the club will have money to spend on the free agent market this winter (link).  The GM made it clear that he will target free agent bats this offseason but also noted that he'd like to add a starter, even if Matt Harvey elects not to have surgery (Twitter links).
  • Speaking of Harvey, he'll have a second visit with Dr. James Andrews this week and a determination will be made by the third week of September (link).
  • Collins isn't the only NL East manager whose job isn't locked down for 2014.  Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told the SiriusXM duo (Twitter links) that he is still analyzing Ryne Sandberg's performance and hasn't decided yet if there will be an interview process for the position.  From the conversation, Bowden didn't get the impression that it's a slam dunk that Sandberg will have his interim tag removed.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Alderson On Harvey, Offseason, Young, Collins

Losing Matt Harvey for the rest of the year and part of the 2014 season was obviously a tough pill to swallow for the Mets and GM Sandy Alderson told WFAN yesterday that it will change his approach to the offseason, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Alderson didn't plan on spending big on a pitcher, but losing Harvey means that he'll have to shell out some cash for a starter.  Here's more from Alderson's chat, courtesy of Rubin..

  • Alderson won't look to trade bats for additional pitching in the wake of Harvey's injury.  That wasn't in the cards for the Mets anyway, even if Harvey was available.
  • Harvey will make an initial decision on Tommy John surgery in one to two weeks and the decision to go under the knife versus rehab will be his call.  
  • Harvey's injury may slot Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom into the rotation out of spring training. If Harvey was healthy, the rotation likely would have been Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, and an innings-eater from outside the organization – leaving Montero, deGrom, and Noah Syndergaad with Triple-A Las Vegas.
  • Alderson sees Eric Young Jr. as one of the Mets' top five outfielders next season but the hope is the Mets can add enough outfield bats to push Young to a fourth or fifth outfielder.  Young may be no more than a platoon player anyway because of his lefty-righty splits, Rubin notes.
  • The team will wait until after the season to officially announce that Terry Collins is returning for 2014.

Quick Hits: Mets, Harvey, Indians, Morneau, Twins

The Mets got some difficult news today as they learned that young star Matt Harvey has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.  GM Sandy Alderson said that Harvey is unlikely to pitch again this season and they'll need two to three weeks to determine if he will require Tommy John surgery, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • If the Indians are going to have a chance at making the postseason, they're going to need their three of their highest-paid players to step it up, writes Dennis Manoloff of The Plain Dealer.  Manoloff says that Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Asdrubal Cabrera will need to produce if they plan on catching the Tigers for the AL Central crown or the A's for the second wild card spot.
  • Agent Scott Boras emphasized that surgery isn't an automatic for Harvey, Rubin writes.  "When you're talking about the term 'partial tear,' you're talking about 5 percent to 95 percent," Boras said of the Mets pitcher. "You have to get in and get the specifics and get more information medically before we can really make a determination as to what we're dealing with."
  • One Mets official acknowledged that losing Harvey for a significant amount of time would impact their timetable for contention, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  With "another bat or two," Zack Wheeler, and a healthy Harvey, the official felt that the Mets could have had a puncher's chance at a strong season in 2014.
  • In a fan mailbag, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com explains that a Justin Morneau trade is highly unlikely as he is still owed roughly $3MM through the end of the season and the Twins probably won't get much for a one-month rental.  Bollinger also tackles questions on top prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton as well as a possible reunion with Johan Santana.