Lay Off Matt Harvey

Over the past week or two, Matt Harvey has taken more criticism than anyone in baseball regarding his innings limit. It’s common knowledge that Harvey was out all of 2014 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery during his explosive 2013 campaign, and the decision to keep him out for the entire season was actually a pretty smart one by Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets. Harvey wanted to return for a few starts at the end of the season. Alderson said no.

But as September has approached and is finally here, the question then becomes: will Harvey pitch in the postseason?

On Saturday, every member of the media at Citi Field made sure to get a chance to ask Harvey the question that would yield the golden answer — but no one seemed to get it. That’s because Harvey skirted the issue and refused to directly answer any questions regarding his innings limit and whether or not he would pitch in the postseason.

He wanted to save those answers for a piece he’d write for The Players’ Tribune.

On September 6, Harvey’s article was published and to summarize, he basically said how much he wants and dreams to pitch in the postseason. It’s when the surgeon explains the danger of exceeding a certain number of innings, one begins to get cold feet. He then said that he’s working with the Mets and his doctors to find a solid compromise for the amount of innings he should hit during the regular season so he can go on to pitch whenever he wants during the postseason.

Consider the angry masses in New York City at least partially placated.

Harvey says a lot in his post, but the part that gets me is the paragraph where he says that he wants to win and be a great pitcher for a long time. Neither of those things come with a guarantee.

For one, obviously every pitcher wants to win for a long time. The Mets seem to have everything going right this year but may not, at least on offense, come next year. It is highly unlikely that they re-sign Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright doesn’t seem to have much left in the tank. Lucas Duda has had one good year which proves that he’s a good player, but nothing’s guaranteed for the next. They’re better than having a “lighting in a bottle”-type year, but they haven’t built a good enough offense to be contenders every year.

Second, just ask Stephen Strasburg how things went after he and the Washington Nationals agreed upon an innings limit. He’s just another pitcher and the Nats haven’t made a real postseason run since.

But back to Harvey using The Players’ Tribune to release the info on his innings limit.

It’s a great decision to have done that, whether or not the New York beat writers feel slighted by Harvey deciding to cut them out of the entire process.

Instead of being asked every type of question regarding his innings and the postseason and having to answer on the spot, he sat down in front of a computer, with all of his facts in front of him and wrote the truth. No repeated questions, no pressure, no follow-up questions. These are the kinds of things athletes have tried to avoid for years. Now, they finally have their own forum to control their own message with the middleman, the press, cut off.

Harvey laid it all out. For any reporter who covers the Mets, the answers to most of their questions were in that article. It’s also more relaxing for fans. The last line states, “Once we are there, I will be there,” which confirms he will pitch in the postseason. Instead of meandering around questions that ask whether or not he’ll pitch in October, he can just say what he needs to say, leaving the people he actually needs to communicate his message to, the fans, satisfied. By controlling the message, there is no possibility that his words will be twisted in the press, taken out of context, or used to create unwanted drama between Harvey, his manager, his teammates, and the Mets’ front office.

The bottom line is that Harvey made the right decision by sticking to the Tribune and he said everything he needed to. He said what people wanted to hear. Now, he must stick by his word. It was typed on his keyboard (or at least that of a highly-skilled publicist employed by Harvey and his agent) not taken from the tape recorder of a reporter. There can be no hiding behind the press this time for Matt Harvey. That’s the beauty of the Player’s Tribune, and Harvey gets that.

Harvey has said his piece, so leave the man alone and let him pitch. Yes, in the postseason.

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