When news broke this week of Chris Sale’s new five-year extension with the White Sox, my thoughts immediately turned to Matt Harvey and the Mets front office. Sale, a 23 year-old left-hander, went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA while striking out 192 batters in 192 innings. A reliever-turned starter, Sale was a highly-touted prospect and pitched well out of the bullpen before being converted. He’s young, and he’s dominant.
The Rays signed young righty Matt Moore to a similar team-friendly deal before he had significant major league experience. The Mets themselves signed Jon Niese to a very team-friendly extension last April. It seems to be becoming a trend in baseball as teams look to save money. This raises some very interesting questions with the Mets, who have Zack Wheeler coming up later this season and Matt Harvey already in the big leagues. Few teams would take a multi-million dollar risk on someone who hasn’t even reached the big leagues yet like Wheeler, but Harvey on the other hand, could be a candidate for one of these contracts.
Obviously, the Mets would absolutely love to sign Harvey to a team-friendly extension. The only problem, of course, is that it would require his consent. That’s the problem with these types of deals in general. The player and agent might feel he could get more through the arbitration process, and would be willing to play it out. Other times, the player is so dedicated to winning, that he will sign for a few million less for the good of the organization. So far, Harvey has shown the personality of one of those players, whose sole focus is winning baseball games.There may be one problem that stands between the two sides making a deal: his agent.
Scott Boras will likely tell Harvey to not take any deal and wait it out, having confidence that he will have success in the future. Harvey could become Super Two eligible, giving him arbitration and free agency a year earlier. That might be enough to convince Harvey, in which case the team will have to pay him a lot more money down the road.
This whole scenario could play out sometime this season. With each passing month (assuming he is pitching well,) Harvey will become more expensive. The front office will have to make sure they have the “real deal” before making an offer, but they also shouldn’t wait more than a year to take action, or he will become very expensive.