Might the Cubs Explore a Matt Harvey Trade?
Tom Baffoe wrote a brilliant article for Chicago CBS local on May 10, wondering why the Chicago Cubs have not called the New York Mets about Harvey. He makes some wonderful points about the Cubs rotation floundering. Jake Arrieta is having control issues. Brett Anderson lasted one-third of an inning in his last start. With the rotation issues, Joe Maddon has relied on his bullpen to get through games. After the recent 18-inning marathon stretched an already over-taxed pen, the Cubs pitching is thin. He thinks that a Matt Harvey trade to the Cubs is a solid plan to help the club.
Recent Moves and Prospects
The Cubs designated Matt Szczur for assignment to make room on the roster for a bullpen arm, in the form of Rob Zastryzny. They then traded Szczur to the San Diego Padres for Double-A arm Justin Hancock. Baffoe suggests that the Cubs look to stretch middle relief pitcher Mike Montgomery for a rotation position. Zastryzny started a single game last season, and appeared in the 18-inning game against the Yankees this year. Eddie Butler is another prospect currently on the 40-man roster. He shows the potential to be the next member of the Cubs rotation. In short, the Cubs have the tools necessary in their farm system.
Baffoe suggests going after Harvey because he believes that the Cubs pitching coach and staff can save him. He has a couple of solid points. The Mets have what appears to be one of the most toxic clubhouses in the majors. Players do not seek or receive proper treatment, and wind up on the disabled list. Beyond that, can Chicago justify trading any asset for Harvey? Harvey finished a three-game ban for violation of team rules – he did not come to the ballpark the day before his scheduled start. He told the team he had a migraine, but the truth came out that he was hungover from an all-night bender the night before. Before the announcement that it was for being hungover, there were reports that Harvey had violated many rules over the last two seasons.
What the Cubs Should Do
Maddon and his staff have the amazing ability to deal with troubled players. Arrieta was a reclamation project. Jon Lester needs special treatment from his catchers to help keep his head in the game. Harvey is currently 2-2 in six starts with an ERA of 5.14 over 35 innings, and a WHIP of 1.286. His WHIP is superior to John Lackey‘s by a solid tenth of a point. He shows the potential to be a fifth or sixth starter in a rotation. The days of being the Dark Knight are long behind him.
But what would be the cost? The Mets have toyed with the idea of sending Harvey to Triple-A, according to Baffoe. Would they be open to something like sending Hancock to the Las Vegas 51s in return for Harvey’s services? The Mets could demand names like Javier Baez, Ian Happ, or Jeimer Candelario for the damaged pitcher. Does Theo Epstein want to try to repair what is a very damaged pitcher at this point? Especially with the current pitching woes in Chicago, even making the call to inquire about Harvey may be too much of a move. Making the call would make them seem desperate. In this case, let the Mets call the Cubs if they want to try to move Harvey.