Mets With Money To Spend in 2014? Extend Matt Harvey

It took the Mets thirty innings, ten hours and one rainout to lose two more games to the Miami Marlins over the weekend. That makes five straight losses to Miami, over successive weekends. Let that sink in for a minute. The Miami. Marlins. The Marlins, who have won just 18 of their 63 games. The Marlins, who do not have a winning record against any team in either league – except for their 8-3 tally vs. … you guessed it…the Mets. As an aside, the Marlins’ next favorite opponent is the Minnesota Twins, against whom they are 1-1.

Of course, this turn of events comes with a few repercussions. First of all, the demotions of Mike Baxter, Robert Carson and especially Ike Davis became necessary when it became self-evident that none of these men were going to be part of any short-term solution to the Metsian malaise. Davis’ relegation is at least a month late, Carson should never have been here in the first place, save for manager Terry Collins’ slavish devotion to righty/lefty platoon splits, and while Baxter will forever live in most Mets fans’ personal Canyon of Heroes, his failure to get a bunt down in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game was probably his last straw. Their AAA replacements – Josh Satin, Josh Edgin & Collin Cowgill – may provide the spark needed to rescue this season from the disastrous to the merely terrible, but the odds are against it.

The second ramification is that an already-dispirited fan base is on the verge of disappearing altogether. The announced crowd on Saturday was 20,338. That’s number of tickets sold, not turnstile count, so the amount of actual breathing people at Citi Field was far less than that. This will become significant in a moment.

The third consequence was that it awoke the sleeping grizzly in the corner, New York’s own Mike Francesa. For the second time this season, Francesa – the Sultan of Smug – began his show with a rant on the general awfulness of the Mets. Surprisingly, given his history as a Mets’ antagonist, many Mets fans have found themselves agreeing with him. He said that a big deal for a big bat should be imminent, given the Wilpons’ and Sandy Alderson’s repeated statements that the team will have money to burn come the 2014 offseason. This has sent some in the dwindling fan base to drooling over Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez or Andre Ethier – big-slugging outfielders who have either team-favorable or contribution-worthy contracts for 2014 and beyond.

Your intrepid columnist thinks differently. The Mets shining presence – their Lochinvar – and pretty much the only reason to pay attention this year is, of course, Matt Harvey. There would not have been even as many souls in the park on Saturday if Harvey hadn’t been the starting pitcher. Met fans know there’s always a chance to see something special when Harvey takes the hill. For that reason – if, in actual fact, there really is some extra money around next year: the cynic doesn’t quite buy it – the first order of business should be buying out Harvey’s arbitration years and perhaps even a couple of early free-agency opportunities. As it stands now, Harvey becomes arbitration eligible in 2016 and his first opportunity to walk away from Queens will be 2019. If the rampant toxicity persists, can’t you see him bolting at his first shot? Especially seeing as he is on the record as having grown up a Yankee fan? To this fan, that would be worse than Dwight Gooden’s post-Mets rings in 1996 and 2000. While it’s true that long-term contracts for young pitchers are generally foolhardy, Harvey seems to be the exception to every rule: the best option just might be locking him up early, rather than have him be the “will he/won’t he?” distraction anything else will inevitably become.

It would certainly send a nice message for a change.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

19 comments for “Mets With Money To Spend in 2014? Extend Matt Harvey

  1. Name
    June 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    The Mets are 3-8 vs the Marlins, but 3-2 vs the Nats. That’s baseball.

    “While it’s true that long-term contracts for young pitchers are generally foolhardy”
    Whaat? Don’t you mean long-term contracts for 30+ aging players? I can hardly remember a long-term deal for a young player not working out because
    1) They have cheap first couple of years so that decreases the AAV by a lot
    2) You buy them out in their prime years of 26-30 rather than 30+.

    Only a fool would be thinking about bolting as you suggest. This kid has FIVE more years left in Flushing. This is his SECOND year. He’s still trying to prove himself to the league. He’s not thinking about when he can leave the Mets. I’m sorry to say this, but this is just the insecurity of one Mets fan.

    • June 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      It’s foolhardy to lock up young PITCHERS, is what I said. The pitcher’s arm is the most fragile thing in sports, these days & nobody is giving pitchers 10-year deals anymore. The arm can go any time. It’s definitely safer to give mega-year deals to position players than to pitchers. I’m hoping for the Mets to buck the trend.

      • Name
        June 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        You’re totally right, i missed the part about the pitchers. Teams tend to only buy out arbitration years for pitchers and wait until they are 30 before they give them that overlengthed deal. Then again, pitchers rarely wait for FA to hit paydirt for the reasons you described above.

        Even so, if you give him a 7 year deal right now(seems like a lot right?), it’s really only one extra year of control. Even an 8 year deal(Wow that’s longer than Verlander and Hernandez!) is only 2 extra years. So are you looking for a 10 year deal now? 12 years?

        • June 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

          I had 10 in mind when I started thinking about it…

  2. Chris F
    June 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    While I like the idea of getting a club friendly extension for Harvey, and i certainly get your point, I see a few issues at this stage:

    1. Its too early still. With as much time as we have under control, extending now is punching the panic button.

    2. Is too early given we havent seen that much of Harvey. Id like to see him turn in a couple full seasons and see how he develops.

    3. He aint no dummy. He went back to college and said no to whatever his first draft offer was. With Boras as his agent, they can smell being stiffed a mile away.

    • June 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I’m not saying there should be any “deception” or anything on the Mets’ part. If they can come to an intelligent — Hey! Stop laughing! — agreement that benefits both sides, it would behoove everybody to get it done sooner, rather than later, no?

      • Chris F
        June 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        I didnt mean it that way…sorry to give that impression. Im sure Boras sees the upside of Harvey (who doesnt) and can already envision a 200M$ payday on a 7 year deal. Shackling Harvey in Flushing longer for much lower hardly seems like the route he would go, unless, Harvey sees NY as THE destination (like Jared Weaver did in Anaheim), and so chooses to stay. I can see some restructuring up through arbitration, but I wouldnt do that today much as I think harvey is the real deal.

  3. June 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    On the FAN it was stated that the Mets will have approximately $44 Mil to spend between this team and next year’s team.

    Trades:

    Andre Ethier (50% of current contract) $8.5 Mil per – The Mets would need to trade something of quality to the Dodgers who have outfielders galore. My guess is that Los Angeles might look at Wilmer Flores being part of any deal.

    Carlos Gonzalez Approx $15.875 per (with his contract becoming more and more pricey – The Rockies will want Syndergaard and deGrom (He’s a sinker pitcher… so yeah, they would) but it would cost a deal more than that.

    Giancarlo Stanton is Arbitration Elligable starting in 2014 – The Marlins would demand a king’s ransom and the Mets would need to part with everyone not named Wheeler and d’Arnaud to avoid trading Wheeler and d’Arnaud.

    Free Agents:

    Jacoby Ellsbury
    Shin-Soo Choo
    Hunter Pence
    Jason Kubel
    Mike Morse
    Nelson Cruz
    Curtis Granderson

    I think free agency might be the better route.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 12, 2013 at 9:13 am

      What would you give up, in terms of magic beans – er … prospects – in order to take your offense from one of the several worst, to one of the best? To be able to compete with St. Louis or Cincinnati not in 2015, but right now … today?

      I’m talking about a lineup that goes Murphy/Wright/Stanton/Cargo. I’m talking about two guys capable of adding 11-12 WAR for the next 5-8 years. There’s probably only two lineups with more firepower than that left-right-left-right nightmare.

      Let me put this as plainly as I possibly can: there is NOTHING in your system worth all of that, and if I could package in some way all the Syndergaards, Monteros, Plaweckis, TDAs, and Wheelers to get that kind of offense, it’s done in a NY second.

      Side note: I absolutely *HATE* free agency. Hate it. By definition, it is an auction, and by definition in an auction you had to pay more than anyone else. And for the Mets, they’d have to pay twice as much.

      Trades. It’s what SA does best, and its what is best for the Mets.

      • Chris F
        June 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm

        I continue to nudge your way, but I cant go that far. Pitching wins. Harvey and Neise “then call the police” is simply not enough of a rotation, with all respects to Hef, Gee, and Marcum. I think think that line up can deliver enough runs to goe toe to toe with the best teams this year. Its also pretty clear that the “buy a penant/WS” approach is basically not successful. I do agree it is time to take stock of our time line and see what the chain of pitchers we have coming up could bring. If Wheeler can make a good run up to the ASG, Id at least listen to who comes calling for a trade. I would not empty the coffers for CarGo and GS. Its the NL and we play in a reasonably pitching-minded park. We need bats but just power bats are not enough.

        With a reeling Jays club, anyone think we could pick up Reyes for a good pitching prospect? Anthopoulos must be looking at all avenues right now. I think Murph is good trade bait. With higher needs for a lead-off guy with speed, some power lumber to protect Wright, and an OF in total, a solid “for-average” hitter with IF skills could be attractive. I know KC is on a charge again, and in need of a 2B, but not sure their prospects pile has a lot of hitters after trading Myers and bringing up about everyone else.

        Who are the Mets best possible trading partners?

        I agree about FA. Its a bust.

        • Chris F
          June 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

          *can’t deliver…*

  4. pal88
    June 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Do it..but buy insurance!!!!!!

  5. NormE
    June 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    It’s foolhardy to predict what Scott Boras would advise Matt Harvey in this situation because of the pitcher/injury factor. Be assured that whichever way it goes, Boras will be looking after his client’s monetary well-being, not that of the Mets.

  6. Chris F
    June 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    The cautionary tale presented by Howard Megdal paints a less than rosy picture, even with the contracts coming off the books. His article yesterday, which is easy to find, portrays a darker look at the money for next year, and why it may not be so much.

    • June 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Well… the issue here would be a P.R. nightmare. Alderson has publicly made a statement saying that the payroll will be between $90-100 Mil. If the payroll isn’t that high (it’s still below the “Major Market Poverty Level”) Met fans will shame Alderson out of town and there will be more of an outcry for the Wilpons to be run out of Dodge.

      With enough payroll the Mets should be able to sign two quality outfielders (Ellsbury and Choo?), a quality starter (Josh Johnson) and a high-leverage reliever (???) or two.

      $44 Mil is not a small amount of money.

      • Chris F
        June 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm

        For sure. And Megdal does good work with raw numbers. I imagine Uncle Bud could call the creditors and back the Mets with a word of MLB support and the whole seedy underbelly of big banking just does its job.

        Lots of Boras types out there. Bringing FAs to Flushing will require extra hazardous duty pay I imagine. I cany help but wonder about the “Denard Span’s” of the MLB who might be possible upgrades for less money. I like Choo as a leadoff guy, but this year has brought his price up a lot…and it may be an anomaly.

        Lets just hope that he has that kind of cash to work with.

  7. Metsense
    June 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    The Mets have two more years of Harvey before arbitration. They should wait until after the 2015 season if they want to buy out some arbitration years and a year or two of free agency. If Harvey doesn’t accept an extension before the 2018 season (his last arb year) then I would trade him. The bidding for a pitcher of his caliber hitting the free agent market could be astronomical. The Santana contract should be a lesson learned. St Louis let Pujols go and hardly missed a step.

    • June 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

      Metsense. 2018 is a long way off. Why look to put a negative spin on Harvey? So many things can happen in five years. Let him go to arbitration. It’s his right if he so chooses. is he required to show loyalty and take less for this ownership? Where is the Wilpon responsibility to the fan who pays and goes to see the Mets at Citifield?
      Just a thought. What happens if the Mets don’t draw 2 million fans this year and the Wilpons are not able to refinance? Does it take a radio sports commentator to show ownership how illogical their moves are becoming?

  8. June 12, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Wait for two years. If Harvey continues to mature and pitch well then you can sit down and discuss his arbitration years. Look at San Francisco and Tim Lincecum. Too many variables and injuries can occur.

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