The Rangers have “mild trade interest” in recently-DFA’d Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Morosi mentions that Texas could be an ideal landing spot for Harvey since Dan Warthen, his former pitching coach with the Mets, is now the Rangers’ assistant pitching coach.
Two more teams were identified as potential suitors later Monday, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Giants “have discussed the possibility of taking a flyer” on Harvey, while SNY’s Andy Martino wrote that the Mariners “have some interest” in the veteran right-hander.
Harvey, 29, has struggled mightily in 2018, posting a 7.00 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over eight appearances, including four starts. The former All-Star, who missed all of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and a large chunk of the 2016 campaign after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, hasn’t really been his old self since 2015. Over 212.1 innings since the start of the 2016 season, he has a 5.93 ERA.
It’s not as if the Rangers have a wealth of effective starting pitching depth right now, though; Bartolo Colon has pretty clearly been their most effective starter after coming into camp on a minor-league deal, and while Cole Hamels has been very good, Doug Fister and Mike Minor have been average at best. Matt Moore has been one of the worst starters in the majors for a second straight year, and Martin Perez has struggled to bounce back from his offseason elbow injury (suffered in an accident with a bull) so much that he’s been placed on the DL again so it can fully heal.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Texas mentioned as a possible suitor for Harvey; it was rumored over the winter that the Mets and Rangers had discussed a Harvey-for-Jurickson Profar swap.
To various extents, Seattle and San Francisco would also be well-served to try and resurrect Harvey’s career. The Mariners’ top two starters, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton, have both started the season in disappointing fashion and have struggled with injuries in recent seasons. Former Cardinals first-rounder Marco Gonzales still has upside, but he hasn’t looked great so far, and veteran Mike Leake has struggled mightily through the season’s first six weeks. Wade LeBlanc and Erasmo Ramirez are probably both better-suited for bullpen roles, and Seattle can’t be sure that Hisashi Iwakuma will return until his recovery from shoulder surgery is complete.
The Giants made more sense as a suitor for Harvey before Monday’s news that Johnny Cueto is only expected to miss six weeks or so with an elbow strain, but under the right circumstances he could still be a solid depth addition. While young starters Ty Blach, Chris Stratton, and Andrew Suarez have been very effective for the surging Giants, Harvey may present an incremental upgrade over current rotation member Derek Holland.
If the Rangers or Mariners are indeed interested in bringing Harvey aboard, it will probably come down to whether they’re willing to claim him on waivers or send a decent return to the Mets in a trade. Texas and Seattle would both have the salary flexibility to pick up the $4 million or so remaining on Harvey’s contract, and even if they’re skeptical about investing that much in him, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has suggested that New York would be willing to eat most of his salary in exchange for a better return in a trade. The Giants, who have spent the entire year meticulously working to stay under the $197 million competitive-balance tax, likely will either try to take advantage of the scenario presented by Passan or (more likely) wait until Harvey clears waivers and they can sign him for the pro-rated minimum if they decide to make a serious run at trying to acquire the 2013 All-Star.
While there are surely a few other teams that will have interest in trying to fix Harvey, Martino wrote that the Orioles and Yankees are not interested in trying to acquire him. The Dodgers and Red Sox are two other teams that would seemingly have reason to pursue Harvey, and their level of interest is still unknown. But for what it’s worth, Martino wrote that a trade sending Blake Swihart — Boston’s third-string catcher — to the backstop-seeking Mets in exchange for Harvey is very unlikely.