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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Winning Fixes Almost Everything

For one night, not even the biggest Terry Collins hater could quibble with his bullpen management.

Has Bartolo Colon ever been better in a Met uniform? He simply throttled the Marlins in recording the Mets’ first complete game of the year, even contributing a highlight-of-forever play by flipping a ball behind his back to Eric Campbell, your latest Met irregular pressed into service at first base. An astonished Campbell was laughing even before the out was official; Colon did the same, strolling across the first-base line with the post-canary grin of a cat who’s going to put up 15 wins at age 42. At this point we should stop asking how long Colon will pitch; it’s obvious he’ll pitch as long as he wants to, adding more guile to the mix as ticks come off the fastball but somehow staying effective, like an endomorphic Satchel Paige.

(Would it be unsporting to take this moment to remind a good chunk of Metdom that a couple of weeks ago Everything Was Ruined™ unless Colon was released THIS VERY MINUTE NO OH MY GOD THIS VERY SECOND I’M CALLING THE FAN TO YELL SO LOUD THEY’LL HEAR NOTHING BUT STATIC AHHHHHHH!!1!!1!1!! It would be? Too bad.)

Anyway, facing the inevitable question about innings limits, Colon offered wryly that there’s no such thing at his age. Which brings us to the latest crisis in Metland, the embarrassingly public spat between Scott Boras and Sandy Alderson over Matt Harvey‘s innings limit, with Harvey in the middle grumbling gnomically and a horrified Dr. James Andrews screening his calls.

When this first became A Thing I dismissed it as the usual talk-radio bullshit; after Harvey’s comments today it’s a bit harder to hand-wave the whole mess away. But still, for now I’m treating it like a hurricane churning away in the Caribbean — keep an eye on it, but there’s no reason to board up the windows and stock up on canned food yet.

At least for once it doesn’t seem to be the Mets’ fault. Over the last 12 months Harvey has tried to pitch before it was advisable and publicly moaned and groaned about being taken out early, skipped in the rotation or slotted in as one of six. Now, all of a sudden, he’s mumbling about having two starts left before he has to become a spectator because, um, well, you know, it’s prudent to listen to the experts. It’s not a good look, to say the least; he’s going to spend every minute until his next start getting a pummeling in the court of Gotham public opinion, and rightly so.

Maybe I’m slow, but I can’t quite figure out what Boras is after here. If he waited until now to raise an innings limit he’s had in mind for months, not only the Mets but also Harvey should be furious with him, because his client’s the one who looks like the bad guy. An agent’s job is to prevent that from happening, and this isn’t the first time Harvey’s been publicly embarrassed by a situation Team Boras should never have let develop — remember the Qualcomm debacle? I’ll give Boras the benefit of the doubt that he’s sincerely trying to protect a young pitcher’s arm — or at least the massive payday that arm represents — but goodness is he ever making a mess of it.

One imagines this will get sorted out somehow and Harvey will pitch as long as there’s a reason to — he’s a ferocious competitor, and he’s savvy enough to know that ducking out of fall duty will ensure two decades of answering accusations about being a traitorous shitheel, to put it only slightly more generously than a generation of columnists will. (Here’s the normally even-keeled Mike Vaccaro firing off a mortar round.) Whatever happens, Harvey’s reputation has already taken a hit, and judging from Alderson’s comments this afternoon, the GM’s already pretty furious and not likely to cheer up anytime soon.

It’s always something around here, isn’t it? But perspective, people. The Mets won tonight and were able to cruise doing it. The Nats didn’t lose, but they lost another day off the calendar, which at this point is almost as bad. Oh, and their next opponent’s a bit tougher than the Braves.

And hey, you got to see Bartolo Colon do things no 42-year-old should be able to do. That was good too.

38 comments to Winning Fixes Almost Everything

  • MetFanMac

    I will frankly and publicly place myself in the Trade Harvey Now camp. His value is high, it will solve the six-man-rotation problem once and for all (remember, Wheeler’s due back next year), it will get us some more bats to compensate for Sandy’s Deadline Rentals leaving, and hey, Harvey’s obviously too Yankee in his soul to fit on this team anyway. Rooting for Harvey has now become like rooting for US Steel.

    The Dark Knight has lived long enough to see himself become the villain…

  • vertigone

    It’s sort of amazing that they (Harvey + Boras) seemingly didn’t anticipate the Category 5 shit storm this would create among the media and fanbase. Maybe they figured the Mets would be seen as the bad/inept guy here, since that is the default setting.

    I’m glad Sandy shoved it right back and put it on Matt to make a big-boy decision of his own.

    “Ultimately, it’s his decision,” Alderson told Newsday. “It’s not the team’s and not his agent’s. If he’s not prepared to pitch, he’s not prepared to pitch.”

    I assume Matt will step up, as this hit to his rep as a win-at-all-costs bulldog is unbecoming of one who wants to see himself as a big time NY hero, like his buddies Jeter and Lundqvist.

    Still, I wonder how this plays among his teammates, especially with the timing of it all. Whatever the case, it gets harder to imagine any scenario where he’s a Met long term.

  • Matt in Woodside

    Boras, like everyone in March, never anticipated the Mets being in this position, and I honestly believe he’s just making noise to make Alderson look bad because Carlos Gomez has been crap since that failed trade.

    God I hate that asshole.

    It’s totally disingenuous of him to say that he thought the Mets would just treat Harvey like Strasburg. (How did that work out, genius!?) The Mets have been handling Harvey with kid gloves all year. If everyone had understood 180 innings as a hard cap, then they would have/could have waited until May to start him. When he was skipped in Colorado, Harvey said he wasn’t a fan of the move, but it was necessary if he was going to pitch in October. So was Harvey also totally unaware that 180 innings was a hard cap two weeks ago?

    If the Mets actually make the postseason and Harvey shuts himself down, I’m with MetFanMac. Trade him. Seriously, his surgery was two years ago at this point. If he feels healthy and he doesn’t want to pitch in October because he’s more concerned about a giant paycheck for himself and his agent in 2018, let him figure it out elsewhere. Because where does it end? Is his innings cap 200 next year? Are the Mets his rehab assignment until he’s fully stretched out and ready for the Yankees or Dodgers?

    • Eric

      Rehab assignment is an apt description of the cynical interpretation.

      The cynical interpretation is Harvey intended a Strasburg-limit shutdown all along, but like a rehab assignment that’s designed solely for the player independently of the rehabbing team’s mission, he wanted to pitch his TJ-recovery season wholly according to his own preferences.

      What might his preferences be?

      TJ returnees often start their seasons in May/June due to their recovery schedule and innings limits. Yet Harvey, whose surgery was performed 2 years ago and was ready to pitch in September 2014, perhaps didn’t want to delay the start of his season to May/June, so he agreed to the team plan that would allow him to start his season in April. Perhaps he wanted to pitch on regular rest, so he pushed back on the mechanisms meant to stretch out his season, such as the six-man rotation and skipped starts. With the season plan in place, Harvey assured he would also be available and wanted nothing more than to pitch in the post-season.

      Thus, Harvey got his way.

      The kinder interpretation is Harvey belatedly changed his mind and is merely being disingenuous about reneging. That’s bad enough. The cynical interpretation is there was no trade-off in Harvey’s mind, he always intended to stop at the Strasburg limit, and he tricked the Mets into planning otherwise for his own convenience. Then, when the time came, he invoked the Strasburg limit regardless of the team’s situation, the pennant race, and his prior expressed view that got him what he wanted for his 2015 rehab assignment.

      Hopefully, Matz lives up to the hype that he’s as good as any of the Mets’ young stud starters. If he’s replacing Harvey now, instead of being an addition to the rotation, the Mets will need Matz to be an ace.

      • Matt in Woodside

        I like Harvey, and I wouldn’t want to think of him doing anything so duplicitous. But the way he was carefully parsing his statements yesterday, it made me think he wasn’t fully speaking for himself. And I actually can see Boras being that manipulative. He ensured that Harvey would get a whole season on the mound whether the Mets actually made the postseason or not.

        I understand Harvey, as a 26 year old with a lot at stake personally, taking the advice of people he has hired to guide his career. But Boras, as always, has to make everything as noisy and obnoxious and finger pointingy as possible. If Harvey isn’t feeling right, then I wish him the best and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. If he feels healthy and shuts himself down regardless, it’s pure hubris. Like he thinks he’s guaranteed a future with plenty of postseason opportunities.

  • Jesse

    Colon setting his career scoreless innings streak record was just the cherry on the sundae of his pitching performance. It took the Mets to stop Grienke’s streak. Who does Bartolo face the next couple of starts? Atlanta and Miami. After that it’s either the Yankees or Atlanta again, depending on the decision of a certain other starter. I say he reprises his role as the team’s 15 game winner!

  • Matt in Richmond

    Your 3rd paragraph wasn’t the least unsporting, it was necessary. A good chunk of Met fandom has at various times this year wanted to give up on nearly every player on our roster. A savvy baseball fan knows that seasons are long, hot and cold streaks happen, and you have to use a discerning eye to be able to tell if a player will be able to contribute or should really be discarded. The past 5 weeks should be all the evidence anyone should need to avoid prematurely writing a player off.

  • eric1973

    Boras is always the a-hole, but he never cared about it before, so why start now. Try and sign Harvey now, for 5-years, 100-mil, and then say goodbye. He will not be worth Boras’ asking price it when he becomes a FA.

    Failing that, trade him ‘now,’ and we can probably get virtually anybody we want for one of the best pitchers in baseball. It says he is, in Boras’ binder.

  • Lou from Brazil

    I wonder, what if this whole situation makes Harvey look so bad that the Yankees don’t want to sign him? They’ve had plenty of prima donna types over the years, but who knows if they won’t have shifted to a more prudent budget while they attempt to get younger. The game is changing fast in regards to free agent contracts, and perhaps this is the only way Boras can make himself look relevant to his clients.

    Harvey will look great in those blue and yellow Mariners faux backs.

  • chuck

    Scott Boras is a cancer on baseball. I bet Marvin Miller even thought so.

    • Eric

      Maybe, but no matter how strongly Boras pressed the case with Harvey to shut down his season with a Strasburg limit, regardless of the prior agreed-upon season plan, Grima Wormtongue worked for King Theoden.

      Boras works for Harvey. It’s Harvey’s call.

  • Eric

    Harvey looks bad. As Harvey’s agent, Boras can make his case to his client that maximizing his FA value depends on a Strasburg shutdown, but Harvey has to agree to it.

    I share Matt in Woodside’s worry. “Are the Mets his rehab assignment until he’s fully stretched out and ready for the Yankees or Dodgers?”

    That’s not saying Harvey should simply sacrifice his long-term career interests for the sake of the 2015 pennant race. But a rehab assignment purposely does not account for the team’s interests at all.

    As Matt in Woodside points out, Harvey’s TJ surgery was 2 years ago. As has been noted, Harvey was ready to pitch in September 2014. Otherwise, there would have been no question of a May/June start to his season. As well as the exceptionally long recovery period are the observations, most notably Harvey’s, that he threw exceptionally well early in his rehab. When asked how his arm feels now, Harvey said he feels fine.

    I assume the Strasburg limit would only be for Harvey’s 1st season back, not turn into a multi-year step ladder, but who knows. Maybe he and Boras have their own tightly regulated ‘rehab assignment’ roadmap for Harvey’s free agency.

    Harvey and Boras are saying now they assumed all along he would stop pitching once he reached a Strasburg-type hard cap on innings. But that looks like open revisionism. It looks like Harvey changed his mind.

    The Mets have been open from the start about the plan for regulating Harvey’s TJ-recovery season and he would be available for the post-season. They’ve stuck to the plan. If anything, Harvey appeared to push for a regular workload and push back against the various mechanisms for limiting his innings and seeing him through the season. His post-season availability and desire were assured.

    The odd thing is that this controversy was unnecessary. If Harvey insisted on a Strasburg limit from the beginning, the Mets could have started his season in May/June, which is normal for TJ returnees.

    Moreover, the team would hardly have been harmed from delaying the start to Harvey’s season. Like all TJ returnees, Harvey’s pitching quality to begin with was unpredictable, and indeed, it wavered early in the season. Meanwhile, Syndergaard and Matz were ready. They were just waiting for rotation spots to open up for them. With the start of Harvey’s season delayed, the rookies would have been promoted earlier.

    It looks like Harvey belatedly changed his mind and is being disingenuous about it.

    The worse, more cynical interpretation is Matt in Woodside’s question whether Harvey only views the Mets as his “rehab assignment” for the team that signs him as a free agent.

    In the more cynical interpretation, Harvey intended to cap his season at 180 innings all along, but like a rehab assignment, he wanted to pitch those 180 innings tuned wholly to his convenience regardless of the team’s interests. Which is to say, Harvey wanted to start his season in April and he wanted to pitch on regular rest … and he wanted to shut down his season at 180 innings all along. Thus, the way Harvey could start pitching in April was to agree to the team’s season plan. And the way he could pitch (more or less) on regular rest was to push back against the mechanisms, ie, six-man rotation and skipped starts, for limiting his innings and stretching out his season. Then, when Harvey approached the 180 innings, heedless of the team’s situation, the play-offs, and his previous stated position, he would simply invoke the Strasburg limit and commence his own shutdown.

  • Dave

    Ever since that mini-documentary aired a few months ago, almost any time my wife sees Matt Harvey or hears his name, she says, “Matt Harvey is a dick.” I think most Mets fans have caught up to her mode of thinking.

    I shudder at the thought that Conforto is a Boras client, but moving forward, I would love to see the Mets just avoid signing or drafting anyone else who works with him.

    • Eric

      Harvey and Boras are not wrong to protect Harvey’s career interests coming off of TJ surgery.

      However, the mystery is why Harvey is protecting himself in a way that unnecessarily causes controversy for himself and trouble for his team.

      As I said upthread, the cynical interpretation is Harvey wanted to pitch his way in his comeback and, in effect, he lied to the Mets to get his way.

      From both a normal and competitive standpoint, the Mets could have started Harvey’s season later. It’s normal for TJ returnees to start their seasons in May/June due to their recovery schedules and innings limits. At the same time, Harvey had an exceptionally long recovery schedule due to his September 2013 TJ surgery, had even requested a September 2014 return, and by his own account, had an exceptionally strong recovery from the outset.

      Competitively, the Mets could have afforded to delay the start to Harvey’s season because Syndergaard and Matz were ready and waiting in the wings for rotation spots to open up.

      There doesn’t appear to have been pressure from the Mets for Harvey to return early or for over-use. It looks like player and team agreed to a plan but the player either changed his mind late or misled the team about his intentions from the start.

  • Rochester John


    If he wants a 180 innings limit, let’s pitch him in the seventh inning 14 times.

    (and vertigone, “default setting”…sweet.)

    • Eric

      7 times. We’re too close to his next start. Unless Syndergaard subs and can work up his pre-start routine or someone (Gee or Verrett?) from AAA is on-rotation, Harvey’s starting on Tuesday.

  • RoundRockMets

    You should be open to trading anyone and everyone if the return makes sense and makes you better in the long or short term depending on the goal.
    That said, the idea of trading Harvey this offseason should have been a consideration all along. Given the starting rotation that would remain, adding a Carlos Gonzalez-level player could have a huge impact.
    It’s strange. The thought that the Mets would shut down Harvey Stasburg-style made me crazy. If he does it to himself I’m sort of ok with it. I guess I see it as almost indistinguishable from him being injured. Harvey thinking he can’t go isn’t really any different from a knee injury sidelining him, for instance.
    As far as what it says about his character, etc., yeah, I get that. Apparently he’s not who we thought he was. Hardly uncharted territory for any Mets fan older than forty.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    That was a “press conference” for the ages. In 11 minutes I learned 8 times from Matt Harvey that he is pitching Tuesday. Thanks for clearing that up, Matt.

    So, what’s Colon’s innings limit….

  • dykstraw

    boras simply wants to exert control over his clients’ team controlled years to maximize future payouts. he got away with it with strasburg and now he seeks to confirm the precedent. the mets’ goal is to win a championship, not to maximize his next contract with the yankees. now that doesn’t mean the mets get to abuse him, but all pitching entails risk.

  • Rob E

    If he knew he had 180 innings in him all along, I can’t fathom that he let this play out so that he would be shut down in September and the post-season AFTER the way the Mets obviously babied him to prevent exactly that. If they told the Mets that back before the All-Star break and the Mets ignored them, that’s different. This sounds like a blindsiding. This one is not on the Mets.

    If he punks out, it would be a betrayal to the organization, the fans, his teammates, and himself. What good is all the talent in the world if you don’t care about winning and your teammates can’t count on you at the most critical time of the season? Especially when it all could have been easily avoided (with Stasburg as an historical barometer)? That is NOT a winner to me. Never thought I would see that from Matt Harvey. I’m willing to let this play out before passing judgement and I can’t believe he would do that, but he if does, he is DEAD to me…I don’t care if he’s Sandy Koufax.

    And as much as I hate Scott Boras, this comes back to the player.

    • Eric

      The point that angers fans most is Harvey and Boras saying they’ve assumed a Strasburg-type limit all along when everyone’s stated priority from day one was planning in order to avoid a Strasburg-type limit for Harvey.

      At least the Nationals were able to plan around the actual Strasburg limit from day one and reached the play-offs, despite needing and not having Strasburg once they got there. The Mets aren’t there yet.

      Harvey and Boras seem to have decided to stick to a Strasburg-type limit on their own regardless of the Mets’ planning and where it leaves the team.

  • LA Jake

    After Tuesday, pull the plug until the postseason and then let him pitch from the pen.

    When the playoffs are done, trade him to the Rockies so he can pitch in Coors Field 15-20 times a year.

    Boras and Harvey have done the impossible and turned Mets management into sympathetic characters.

    • Eric

      I assume Harvey’s usage for the rest of this season is what Harvey and Alderson will hash out tomorrow.

    • Rob E

      They’ve further done the impossible in getting everyone on this blog on the same side and getting everyone in the media on the same side, and that side is the side of the Mets. Who woulda thought that that was even possible? Nothing more uniting than a common enemy.

  • sturock

    It’s easy to get caught up in the distraction of the moment, but the Mets’ attitude towards Harvey should be the same as their attitude towards every other player. Shop him in the off-season; if they get a great offer (and they will) take it. Why be sentimental about this guy?

  • eric1973

    I think we all knew Harvey was an a-hole all along, anyway, from the way he has previously behaved, but this just re-re-re-confirms it.

  • Dennis

    And didn’t Harvey make noise last year about possibly pitching in meaningless games last September? But now wants to be shut down when HIS team is finally in a pennant race? I thought the Dark Knight was an ultra Type A competitor? Maybe he now should be called the Dark Pussy?

  • Steve D

    It is possible Harvey didn’t really think the Mets would make the playoffs, thus all his bravado that he wanted to pitch in October. I think the guy wants to pitch, but is now running scared. Maybe he doesn’t feel 100% and doesn’t want to admit it to the Mets or himself. Obviously something does not add up. If I were him, I’d say I’ll go 185 in season and do one start per playoff series and see how I feel. What’s that, an extra 20 innings or so? As long as he feels great, he should pitch.

    My idea awhile back that despite his earlier troubles, they should start the wily veteran Colon in the playoffs seems more likely and necessary.

  • Lenny65

    The timing couldn’t possibly have been worse. If this innings cap could have been made clearer during the early part of the season, measures could have already been taken to ensure Harvey could pitch through September and October if need be. And now, need does indeed be. I’m rather stunned as Harvey always came across as a true gamer to me and it isn’t as if he’s being abused this year or anything.

  • metsfaninparadise

    I got to see Bartolo do those things from six rows directly behind first base. It was all the more astonishing for happening right before my very eyes.

  • […] of this rotation, just as Niese shouldn’t be professionally dead to us yet. As Jason pointed out, it was easy enough to write off Colon when he waned and he’s presently our most dependable and dynamic starter. I’m willing to give […]