9:53pm: The club has indeed signed Harvey, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Harvey will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.
An agreement with the A’s means Harvey will continue in the American League West, where he pitched for the Angels this season before they released him three weeks ago. The former Mets star, 30, was among the Angels’ most notable signings last winter, when they handed him an $11MM guarantee. But the Halos’ version of Harvey performed like one of the worst starters in baseball, which forced the team to drop him.
After reviving his career to some extent as a member of the Reds late last season, Harvey opened this year with a ghastly 7.09 ERA/6.35 FIP with 5.88 K/9 and 4.37 BB/9 across 59 2/3 innings and 12 starts. As you’d expect, he ranked near the bottom of the league in all of those categories. In the process, Harvey yielded home runs on a personal-worst 22.4 percent of fly balls, recorded the lowest average four-seam fastball velocity of his time in the majors (93.2 mph) and posted the second-weakest swinging-strike rate of his career (9.1). Hitters teed off on Harvey for a .372 weighted on-base average along the way, but according to Statcast’s expected wOBA metric (.390), he actually deserved worse.
Needless to say, this has been a nightmarish campaign for Harvey. There’s little harm in the A’s taking a flier on him on a minors pact, though, especially considering the success they’ve recently had bringing in castoff starters on low-cost deals (Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill spring to mind). And Harvey’s now back in the same organization as A’s executive Sandy Alderson, who was New York’s general manager during the hurler’s tenure there.
Having dealt with significant injuries to Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Marco Estrada and Jharel Cotton – not to mention an 80-game suspension to emergent ace Frankie Montas – Oakland has been forced to make do with a patchwork rotation for the second straight year. The club somehow won 97 games and earned a wild-card berth last season, though, and has weathered its issues in 2019 to log a 68-52 record.
Currently two games back of a wild-card spot, the Athletics have been aggressive in trying to upgrade their starting staff over the past few weeks. Prior to last month’s trade deadline, they acquired Tanner Roark from the Reds and Homer Bailey from the Royals. Those two are now part of a rotation that also includes Anderson, Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt, while Manaea, Luzardo and perhaps even Harvey are among those who could also factor into the mix in the coming weeks.