PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Matt Harvey appears open to considering a long-term contract with the New York Mets.
"I think whatever comes up is going to come up," Harvey said Monday, two days before Mets pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training. "I’ve never shied away from it. I’ve never said I wouldn’t consider it. But I haven’t heard anything considering that."
After helping the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 2000, the 26-year-old right-hander was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time and agreed to a one-year deal worth $4,325,000. He is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season, and his agent, Scott Boras, usually prefers his clients test the market.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says he would consider talking about long-term deals with his talented young starting pitchers if there was mutual interest. Jacob deGrom could become a free agent following the 2020 season, and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz after the 2021 season. Zack Wheeler, projected back this summer following Tommy John surgery, could become a free agent following the 2019 season.
Harvey was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 189 1/3 innings last year after returning from Tommy John surgery. He went 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four postseason starts.
Several pitchers have performed considerably better their second full season after Tommy John surgery. St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright went 14-13 with 3.94 ERA in 2012 in his return, then went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA the following year,
"Obviously you don’t have a crystal ball and you can’t really predict what the ERA and all those things look like," Harvey said, "but my body feels great, my arm feels great and I think all of us as a staff and as a whole organization feel great about this year," Harvey said.
Harvey said he was excited about the start of the new season.
He last pitched in Game 5 of the World Series, when he lobbied manager Terry Collins to send him back to the mound for the ninth inning with the Mets leading 2-0. Trying for what would have been just the second complete game of his big league career, Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain on a full-count slider, Cain stole second on the next pitch and Eric Hosmer sliced a fastball into the left-field corner for an RBI double.
Closer Jeurys Familia relieved, and the Royals tied the score when Mike Moustakas advanced Hosmer with a groundout, and Salvador Perez hit a grounder to third; Hosmer broke for home as David Wright threw to first and slid in headfirst ahead of Lucas Duda’s wayward throw. Kansas City won the title in the 12th inning.
"It’s something that motivates and drives you going into the next year," Harvey said. "I think instead of dwelling on what happened and trying to change something that you can’t, I think you use that as motivation towards the offseason, towards getting your body ready and getting your mind ready towards a long season and getting back to where you want to be. We have a lot of confidence this year. We have lot of knowledge from last year and experience. … Obviously If I went back I would throw a different pitch. Everybody wishes they could go back at some point and change things. We’re excited to go back. I’m always going to want the ball as much as the next guy is."