The Yankees certainly are in the market for starting pitching and Matt Harvey has experienced success in New York. Can he help the Yankees?
The lack of quality starting pitching available this season via trade has the Yankees looking at every available option. It’s very likely the Cincinnati Reds would be willing to part with Matt Harvey for a middling asset. That doesn’t mean Brian Cashman should pull the trigger on the former Mets star.
Fortunately for Yankees fans, there have been zero reports of actual trade talks between the two sides. MLB.com writer Anthony Castrovince did propose the idea in a piece on the league’s website, but that’s as far as it’s gone. Even so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see the rumor pop up more often as the trade deadline approaches.
After all, Harvey has been much better since joining the Reds. After his disastrous start to the season in Queens, he’s settled down and gone 3-3 with a 4.31 ERA in nine starts for Cincinnati. That’s nowhere near the dominance he showed earlier in his career, but it does profile as something close to an average MLB starting pitcher.
The Yankees could certainly use someone with that sort of profile to serve as their fifth starter. Domingo German has been up and down since taking over for Jordan Montgomery. The front office is right to believe in his potential, but he would be better coming out of the bullpen at this stage in his career. His lack of a third pitch really makes it difficult for him to pitch deep into games.
There are also reasonable questions as to just how much Jonathan Loaisiga can be trusted as a rookie. He’s looked excellent so far, but it’s only been a couple of starts. The difference between his situation and German’s is that Masahiro Tanaka should return this season to retake his spot in the rotation. As such, replacing Loaisiga isn’t a significant priority.
The argument against acquiring Harvey is pretty simple. He may not have the stuff to handle the limelight of pitching in New York anymore. Performing on the big stage isn’t for everyone, Harvey’s career imploded earlier this year for the Mets. The risk of him blowing up again if he returned to town with the Yankees just isn’t worth taking.
Things would be different if Harvey had the potential to become a dominant starter again, but those days are gone. There are going to be several pitchers of his quality available for relatively low prices in the next few weeks. Cashman and the Yankees will choose a target who doesn’t have a history of failing in New York.