JULY 28: This deal is now official. Harvey’s pact will be worth a prorated $575K if he makes the Royals, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. It also includes performance bonuses for games started.
JULY 23: The Royals are close to a deal with free agent right-hander Matt Harvey, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). It seems quite likely to be a minor league pact for the Scott Boras client, who would need to be added to Kansas City’s 60-man player pool before reporting to their alternate training site. Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that a deal between the two sides is expected to be completed today.
Harvey, 31, struggled with the Angels in 2019 when he totaled 59 2/3 innings with a 7.09 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. He had a solid run in Cincinnati following a trade in 2018, though, pitching to a 4.50 ERA and 4.33 FIP in 24 starts. By all accounts, he fit in well in the Reds’ clubhouse, and Harvey himself spoke to the New York Post’s Dan Martin earlier this year about the manner in which he feels he’s grown since his early years with the Mets. “I’ve grown up and matured on and off the field,” Harvey told Martin. “There are a lot of things I’d do differently, but I don’t like to live with regret.”
The Royals are already carrying a pair of Boras-represented reclamation projects in right-handers Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal, and Harvey will hope to join that bunch. It’s been years since he was New York’s “Dark Knight,” a budding ace who took the NL by storm with a 2.53 ERA, 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 through his first 427 MLB innings. Harvey’s arm has been put through the ringer since then, however, as Tommy John surgery and Thoracic Outlet Surgery have sapped his heater and rendered him a shell of that previous self.
It’s easy to forget, though, that Harvey is still only in his early 30s. A rebound shouldn’t be ruled out completely, as the raw talent is clearly there, but adjustments clearly need to be made. A successful Harvey rebound would make for quite the storyline, but we’re a long way from the point at which that feels especially plausible.