As the Mets have shot to the top of the NL East, they've unfortunately been mired in controversy over Matt Harvey and how many innings he may or may not be allowed to throw. He missed the entire 2014 season due to a torn UCL which required Tommy John surgery, and as a result, the Mets were expected to be careful with him this year.
However the Mets and Scott Boras, Harvey's agent, seemingly had widely different views of what being careful with Harvey meant. In late February, Sandy Alderson said, "I don't think we're taking any special precautions" and that Harvey would have a soft cap around 200 innings.
Their plan was to hold him back at the start of the season, as well as "skipping him strategically throughout the summer". While the Mets did skip him when possible, and have limited his innings over the last month, Boras was adamant that 180 innings was the upper limit of what Harvey could throw, and it was undoubtedly a hard cap.
"On Friday, after word of the disagreement was first reported by Jon Heyman on CBSSports.com, Boras went on something of a media blitz, contending that [James] Andrews had recently recommended that Harvey's innings be capped at 180 for the year...'I'm not saying what they Mets can or can't do. That's not my job. I'm letting them know what the medical opinion is, and that's it. And when they receive notice of the medical opinion, who's accountable for that?'"
Boras was unwavering on this matter, and said that Harvey's doctors, most notably the renowned surgeon Dr. Andrews, had made it clear that 180 innings was all he could throw. Aside from the fact that innings limits are incredibly archaic, it now appears that Andrews never put a number on how many innings Harvey could throw.
Mets had a conversation with Dr. James Andrews and Harvey and his camp a week ago. Andrews never said there was a 180 inning ceiling
— Mike Vorkunov (@Mike_Vorkunov) September 21, 2015
Boras has a duty to protect his client, and the millions of dollars that are potentially at stake, but it seems that he's gone to far this time. It's one thing to suggest that Harvey's health could be at risk by throwing too many innings, but it's entirely different to say that this recommendation came from his doctor.
The effects this revelation will have on how the Mets use Harvey down the stretch are unclear, but it's fair to wonder what all this is doing to their relationship. Buster Olney suggested that the best course of action could be for Alderson to trade the right-hander this offseason, as the chances of them resigning Harvey are almost zero, and they could capitalize on his value now.
Only time will tell how the Mets choose to proceed, but it seems clear that we haven't reached the end of this controversy.