The Dark Knight has relocated from Gotham to the sunny shores of California today, as SP Matt Harvey agrees to a one-year $11M pillow contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Per Jon Heyman, the deal also includes $3m in incentives based on games started.
Matt Harvey’s Angels deal for the 11M guarantee has the 3M incentives based on games started between 15 and 26 gs. @Feinsand 1st with agreement
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 19, 2018
Matt Harvey Signs One-Year Deal with the Los Angeles Angeles
2018 finally saw the end of Harvey’s career as a Met, which ended with him being DFA’d on May 5th. He was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds on May 8th and spent the rest of the season in their rotation. Harvey’s overall numbers were decidedly pedestrian (7-9 with a 4.94 ERA and 1.30 WHIP) and he struggled to strike out batters (19.8% K%) as well.
Despite this, Harvey’s second-half peripherals jumped markedly and are the reason he was able to garner $11m in guaranteed cash. Advanced looks into his 5.37 second-half ERA were positive (4.68 FIP, 3.88 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA) and his ability to strike batters out rose as the season progressed:
|Reds (1st Half)||64.1||18.40%||27.70%||68.70%||82.10%||62.60%||8.60%|
|Reds (2nd Half)||63.2||22.70%||29.20%||63.80%||77.80%||66.70%||11.20%|
These rates are close to what Harvey posted in 2015, and his production in September eclipsed even that (25.4% K%, 36.3% O-Swing%, 14.3% SwStr%). Changes to his pitching mix, particularly in September, caused his arsenal to be more effective against hitters, as did his improved control (-5.3% BB% in 2018).
Harvey’s second-half performance is promising for the Angels, and he has the potential to make this contract a steal for them in 2019. In order to do so, however, he must maintain the strikeout ability he showed towards the end of the season. This is a perfect gamble for the Angels, even with the attached risk.