Matt Harvey Sent to Mets Bullpen 2 Days After Saying He Is a Starting Pitcher

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14:  Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets walks to the dugout after the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on April 14, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Matt Harvey may consider himself a starting pitcher, but the New York Mets are making him a reliever.

Per James Wagner of the New York Times, Mets manager Mickey Callaway announced Saturday that Harvey will move to the bullpen as Jason Vargas nears a return from his rehab assignment.

On Thursday, Harvey said that, even despite his struggles, he believes he is best suited for the rotation, via the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert: "I am a starting pitcher. I've always been a starting pitcher. I think I showed in the fifth and sixth inning I can get people out still when my pitch count gets up, so I am a starting pitcher."

Less than three years ago, Harvey helped lead the Mets to the World Series. But ever since he stayed in to pitch to two batters in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 Fall Classic, he has not been the same pitcher.

The right-hander went 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 2016 and followed that up with a 6.70 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 19 appearances, including 18 starts, last year. In 2018, he is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings across four starts.

The 2010 No. 7 overall pick—who once finished fourth in National League Cy Young award voting—showed signs of getting back on track at the beginning of this season, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball with five strikeouts in his first start. However, he has been roughed up for 14 earned runs in 16 innings over his past three games.

Those struggles have made him the odd man out of the rotation.

It appears as though Harvey will have a chip on his shoulder as he takes on the new role, as Wagner noted:

Harvey made it clear to reporters that he was not happy with the decision, via Tim Healey of Newsday:

Harvey was looking to rebuild his value in 2018, as he is set to become a free agent in the offseason. Perhaps a move to the bullpen will help him right the ship and show teams he can still get major league hitters out.

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