Despite struggling mightily in 2018, recently DFA’d pitcher Matt Harvey is drawing some interest. The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners have both reportedly expressed interest. The San Francisco Giants are reportedly exploring a Harvey deal, as well.
The #SFGiants have discussed the possibility of taking a flyer on Matt Harvey, sources say. They have the need, obviously, but how would he fit in the clubhouse? And more important, how much work does he need to get straightened out?
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 7, 2018
There’s certainly a need for the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner is close to returning, but remains on the shelf. Johnny Cueto doesn’t need surgery, but will miss the next 6-8 weeks. San Francisco’s 3.72 team ERA ranks 10th in baseball. But while the pitching has held up relatively well, regression from the likes of Ty Blach, Derek Holland, and Chris Stratton is at least possible. Even if that regression never comes, a team can never have too much good pitching.
Of course, for the Giants and any other team, the question with Harvey is, will he bring good pitching? From 2012-2015, Harvey posted a 2.53 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and struck out 9.5 hitters per nine innings. From 2016-2018, he’s struggled to the tune of a 5.93 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and a 6.9 K/9 rate. Whether starting or coming out of the bullpen, this season has been particularly bad, with Harvey putting up a 7.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, and striking out only 6.7 per nine.
It’s also worth noting that San Francisco’s recent history with this type of deal is decent. The Rangers essentially gave up on reliever Sam Dyson a season ago and his career looked nearly over. But he was acquired by the Giants and actually pitched relatively well in San Francisco, saving his career in the process.
Given his recent struggles, Harvey would be a gamble for the Giants, or any other team. That said, his past is a little too good to ignore. Given that he’d cost very little to bring in, someone will take a flyer on him.