Matt Harvey, Athletics Reportedly Agree to Contract After Angels Release

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 15, 2019

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Harvey throws during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the Houston Astros in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The Oakland Athletics signed free-agent pitcher Matt Harvey to a minor league deal Wednesday, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Harvey, 30, went 3-5 with a 7.09 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 12 starts for the Los Angeles Angels before the team released him on July 21.

The right-hander was a rising star earlier this decade for the New York Mets and even started the 2013 All-Star Game for the National League. He finished that season 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178.1 innings.

Unfortunately, Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2014 season.

He came back strong in 2015 and fared well, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 188 punchouts in 189.1 frames.

However, Harvey struggled over his next two full seasons, going 9-17 with a 5.78 ERA in 36 games. Thoracic outlet syndrome ended his 2016 season early, and a stress fracture in his scapula kept him off the mound for part of 2017.

Harvey's pinpoint control faded over the years, as his walk rate ballooned from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 10.9 percent in 2017, per FanGraphs. His strikeout rate also dipped from 27.7 percent in 2013 to 15.6 percent in 2017, in part because his four-seam fastball velocity dipped to a career-low 94.3 mph.

After he started the 2018 season with an 0-2 record and 7.00 ERA in his first eight games, the Mets traded him to the Cincinnati Reds, where he enjoyed a small career resurgence. He finished 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 128.0 innings. His strikeout rate rose to 19.8 percent for the season, while his walk rate dropped to 5.6 percent.

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That effort earned him a one-year, $11 million guaranteed contract with the Halos, but he found trouble locating the strike zone again, as he walked 10.9 percent of the batters he faced.