Matt Harvey Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The baseball world got some terrible news today when Mike Francesa of WFAN radio in New York reported that Mets ace Matt Harvey has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will be placed on the disabled list (hat tip: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter). A torn UCL, of course, is usually a precursor to Tommy John surgery, which would mean Harvey would miss most -- if not all -- of the 2014 season. It will also greatly impact the Mets' strategy for 2014, as the team had planned to make a big push for immediate contention this offseason. Here's more on the Mets and the rest of the NL East...
- "First base is in flux," one Mets official told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets are currently unsure as to who will man the position in 2014. Martino profiles their in-house options -- Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin and Wilmer Flores -- but also notes that general manager Sandy Alderson could seek a first baseman outside the organization. Martino adds that Davis' poor play almost earned him a second demotion to Triple-A earlier in the summer.
- Roy Halladay thinks brighter days are ahead for the Phillies, writes Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News. Said Halladay: "...we have some young players who are really kind of coming into their own and some veteran guys who are starting to produce again. I think there's just a few pieces that if we can add we're right there." Halladay, of course, is a free agent at season's end. He made his return to the Phillies' rotation over the weekend, allowing two runs on four hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts in six innings of work.
- Many things have gone wrong for the Nationals this season, but Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs points out that Jayson Werth is having a fantastic season and earning the value of his salary this year. While the contract is still likely to be "ugly" by the end, in Klaassen's opinion, Werth is a good bet to provide above-average production for the next couple seasons if he remains healthy.
Tonight's American League All-Star starter Max Scherzer knows the best place for MLB players to find out if they're on the move. "It's crazy how that works. You're traded out of the blue, and the only way you find out is by MLB Trade Rumors. All of the media and all of your friends know, but you don't hear it from the people doing it," the Tigers righty told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Scherzer went on to describe himself as a "pretty fanatical fan" of this website, of which he is a near-daily reader. Be sure to check out Nightengale's article, which focuses on Scherzer's experiences with former slugger and current Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire. As Scherzer and other players prepare for tonight's All-Star game at Citi Field, here are your related links...
- We learned yesterday that nothing is cooking regarding a contract extension for Scherzer, who is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Talking to Nightengale, Scherzer said, "It's funny, everybody wants to speculate on teams, and X amount of dollars, but if I go out there and pitch well, everything will take care of itself."
- How about National League starter Matt Harvey, who fronts the Mets' rotation and is also represented by Scott Boras? Joel Sherman of the New York Post talked to Boras, who said, "Usually the team will come to you, it is not up to the player to start negotiations. I would also say this, where the team wants to go in these situations and what the true value of the player is are not often that close." That's not terribly encouraging, but Mets fans can rest easy knowing Harvey will not be arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season, and will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 campaign.
- Though he didn't make the American League squad, Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes took home the Home Run Derby belt last night, besting Bryce Harper. To learn about the journey Cespedes and his family took in defecting from Cuba, check out this article from Susan Slusser and Demian Bulwa of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Another good read is the harrowing story of Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez, who also defected from Cuba. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince has it here, and Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald has another good look at Fernandez here. Fernandez has not yet reached the riches Cespedes has, as he was subject to the 2011 amateur draft.
- With 37 home runs at the All-Star break, the Orioles' Chris Davis is another of the All-Star Game's big stories. Davis treats Roger Maris' 61 home runs in 1961 as the record, discounting the six times it was bested from 1998-2001 by Barry Bonds, McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Yahoo's Jeff Passan surveyed 15 All-Stars and found that most treat Bonds' 73 as the record despite his PED ties. The Reds' Joey Votto was most critical of Davis' stance, telling Passan, "If Chris feels like 61 is the home run record, maybe he’s just selfishly pegging that number as the home run record so if he passes it he can wear a crown or something like that. There would be a lot of money in that."
- The Nationals were highly interested in Davis when the Rangers made him available in 2011, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. Instead, Davis joined the Orioles along with Tommy Hunter in a July 2011 deal for reliever Koji Uehara and $2MM.
- More than half of the 78 All-Stars were acquired by their current team through the draft, an international signing, or a trade while still in the minors, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal in his analysis.