Matt Harvey Rumors: Reds, A's Among Teams 'Thought to Have Interest' in SP

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2018

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 19, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Matt Harvey may not get the big payday this winter that he once envisioned, but there still appears to be some interest in the former All-Star pitcher on the market.

Jon Heyman of Fancred reported on Wednesday that the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics are among the teams "thought to have interest" in the free agent.

It was an up-and-down 2018 season for the 29-year-old right-hander. Harvey finished the year at 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 32 appearances (28 starts) between the New York Mets and Reds. While his numbers in Cincinnati may not jump off the page, he pitched fairly well following the trade.

Harvey went 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 24 starts with the Reds, striking out 111 batters in 128 innings. That includes a 5-1 record in 11 starts at hitter friendly Great American Ball Park. Not only that, but he allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 24 starts with Cincinnati, including just twice over his final eight starts.

Unfortunately for Harvey, interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman employed a quick hook, limiting the veteran's opportunities of pitching deep into games. He recorded outs in the seventh just three times this past season and never went deeper than seven innings.

There were questions surrounding Harvey both on and off the field as his tenure in New York came to an end. However, those concerns were put to rest with the change of scenery.

Cincinnati general manager Nick Krall let it be known in August, per MLB.com's Matthew Martell, that Harvey had been a "quality influence," leading the team to keep him rather than trade him during the summer.

Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams acknowledged near the end of the regular season that the team was interested in re-signing the veteran, per MLB.com's Mark Sheldon:

"We definitely will stack Matt up against the available options," President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams said Tuesday. "The fact that he's been here and we've seen how he interacts with our coaches and our players will certainly work in his favor.

"Everybody's been favorably impressed. And we know that pitching is a priority going forward. All our pro scouting staff is in town, and we are currently discussing every free-agent player, starting with pitching. We'll also be talking about trade targets. There's a lot of possibilities."

Williams recently added, per the Cincinnati Enquirer's Bobby Nightengale, that the Reds are looking to take the next step in the rebuilding process by signing two pitchers this offseason.

Meanwhile, Harvey himself made it clear that he "enjoyed" his time in Cincinnati and wouldn't rule out a return. 

Cincinnati Reds @Reds

Matt Harvey shares his thoughts on staying with the #Reds. https://t.co/nMPTQrdKkg https://t.co/TDgubexDtx

He later added that there's only one team, the Mets, he won't consider this offseason.

"There's only one team out there I would not sign with. That's about it," Harvey said in September, according to Sheldon. "[The Reds] brought me here and they gave me the ball every fifth day. So it was something I'm very happy about and taking into consideration, and we'll see what happens moving forward."

As for Oakland, the A's rotation ranked 17th in MLB with a 4.17 ERA. And while the team won 97 games and made it to the American League Wild Card Game, Sean Manaea was the team's only starter to make more than 20 starts in 2018. 

Harvey is continuing to try to prove he can regain his old form. The former seventh overall pick has worked his way back from both Tommy John surgery and a procedure for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Harvey may not be the same pitcher he was prior to 2016, but as he showed this year, he can still get big league hitters out.