Touching the bases about the Mets and it is about Matt Harvey

Rich Mancuso

Twelve days until Opening Day at Citi Field and the first pitch as the New York Mets host the Washington Nationals. With a well-deserved day off down in Port St. Lucie Florida, manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff have plenty of decisions to make before that first pitch.

And, GM Sandy Alderson will be a part of those discussions. What is almost certain for Opening Day is, the Mets don’t have a first baseman set in place, and Ruben Tejada could still be on the bench and not starting at shortstop. Bartolo Colon will probably start on the mound with Jonathon Niese headed for a short stint on the disabled list.

Also, Matt Harvey, he does not know when to keep his mouth closed and the Mets hierarchy is at fault for that. Why? The following comments yesterday are self- explanatory:

“After talking with my agent and the Players’ Association and going over the CBA rules, as a player you have rights,” Harvey said. “I want to do what’s best for the organization and best for the rehab process. For me, I’ve made it clear where I stand. I think everybody knows I want to be with the team and be with the guys. New York is my home. I love being there. I love showing up to the ballpark every day. If I have that opportunity, then that’s where I’d like to be.”

Yes, Matt Harvey may appear to say the right thing. He does have a way with words and something Mets fans want to hear. However, when it comes to the best interest of the team, Harvey has it all wrong.

And, the Mets can’t put a muzzle on his mouth. Because Matt Harvey, since his arrival at Citi Field has been the next coming of the franchise pitchers Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. He has established himself as the new franchise player in a Mets uniform, but one season, and more importantly recovering from Tommy John surgery does not make you a Seaver or a Gooden.

Only with the New York Mets can this be the case. Harvey has established himself to a certain point of being this superstar pitcher that will help propel the Mets to a new level.  The fastball clocked at 97 or more, and his persona, that is something Mets fans come to see.

It is advertised as “Matt Harvey Day” at Citi Field.  Each time the soon to be 25-year old right-hander gets the ball there is a buzz in the ballpark and more fans are in the stands. Each time Harvey is on the mound, SNY TV, the Mets television home sees a big boost in ratings.

Harvey sells merchandise. In essence he has become the star attraction and revenue gainer for the Mets. He became the youngest pitcher to start an all-star game as was the case this past July at Citi Field.

The issue is, Matt Harvey is not a veteran and wants to be treated like one. And for not wanting to follow protocol, by wanting to do his rehab in New York, well that’s where Alderson and the Mets have to draw a line. Harvey is not a veteran. He is the total opposite of another New York baseball icon, Derek Jeter, who always follows protocol with the New York Yankees.

There are issues with Tommy John surgical procedures. One of significance is not rushing the return process to the mound. Already this spring training, Atlanta Braves’ Chris Medlen, and Jarrod Parker, starter with the Oakland Athletics, have been sidelined and having the procedure again.

Perhaps a fluke or not proper healing, but, Harvey has stated time and time again since the October surgery that he will pitch this season. The Mets hierarchy has not told Harvey to stay quiet. Harvey wants to do his own talking, perhaps motivation for his team, or is it more because Matt Harvey has an ego that can’t be stopped?

Tuesday Harvey was talking to some of the Mets beat writers in the clubhouse down in Port St. Lucie. Last year, in the Mets clubhouse approaching Harvey was as difficult as getting a one-on-one with a diplomat. Though, this time, Harvey wanted to do the talking and freely stated what was on his mind.

Alderson and the Mets have now realized, controlling Harvey is difficult to do. With the Players’ Association protocol on his side, if Harvey wants to rehab this season with his team, he will be allowed to do so.

If Matt Harvey wants to speak, the Mets may have no choice to let him do so.  What made Derek Jeter so special was his ability to have self-control, and he did what was always best for the Yankees. That has been seen more the past year when Jeter, in the final stages of a Hall of Fame career, did his rehab down in Florida.

The Yankees did the talking for Jeter. Harvey continues to do his own talking.  The Mets have a dilemma on their hands. This may be insignificant as compared to making roster moves before Opening Day.

But it is obvious. Matt Harvey has become an issue for the New York Mets and it goes beyond a comeback from Tommy John Surgery. It is spelled EGO!

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