The Angels announced that they have designated righty Matt Harvey for assignment. The move comes on the heels of yet another rough outing for the 30-year-old former ace.
There are several other pitching moves coming for Los Angeles. Righty Jake Jewell was optioned out, creating room for the team to recall right-hander Jaime Barria and first baseman/left-handed pitcher Jared Walsh.
The Halos also announced that Keynan Middleton has been diagnosed with mild ulnar neuritis. While the good news is that he isn’t dealing with a structural issue, the reliever has been returned from his rehab assignment. His timeline for a full return remains unclear.
Harvey has posted brutal numbers for much of the season, struggling to find any kind of consistency. His one-year, $11MM contract has simply not worked out. It’s much the same story for the other veterans inked to one-year contracts over the winter, with Cody Allen ($8MM) long since released and Trevor Cahill ($9MM) limping along at much the same pace as Harvey.
While those signings are all disappointing, it remains particularly jarring to see the former Mets star Harvey struggling to stay afloat in the bigs. He lost yet more velocity this season and was near the bottom of the league in statistics ranging from strikeout percentage (14.7%) to the expected batting average (.302) and slugging percentage (.524) of opposing hitters, as measured by Statcast.
All told, Harvey has managed only 59 2/3 innings of 7.09 ERA pitching this year for the Angels. With 5.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 and nearly two long balls per regulation game, ERA estimators did not take a much more optimistic view of his contributions. He graded out with a 6.35 FIP, 5.43 xFIP, and 5.78 SIERA.
It’s not at all clear where Harvey will go from here. Perhaps an effort to rebuild his repertoire or otherwise find a new approach will be necessary. Even if his arm speed won’t ever fully return, there’ll surely be teams interested in seeing if they can unlock some of the immense talent that Harvey showed during his heyday with the Mets.
In a 65-start run from 2012-2015, Harvey threw 427 innings of 2.53 ERA ball for the New York organization that drafted him. That included exceptional work both before and after the Tommy John procedure that cost him the 2014 campaign. After extending himself in the Mets’ 2015 World Series run — he kept pitching down the stretch and threw 26 2/3 excellent postseason innings after a memorable dispute arose over his availability — Harvey’s health took a turn for the worse. He ultimately underwent a procedure to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome in the summer of 2016. While Harvey has had stretches of useful MLB work since, he has never come close to regaining his early form.