Scott Boras has made it clear that according to the renowned Dr. James Andrews, Matt Harvey should not pitch more than 180 innings this year. Dr. Andrews, however, refuses to be quoted saying as much and it sounds like he never says those kinds of things.
Three rival GMs say Dr. Andrews does not prescribe set limits post-Tommy John. “He always says to watch and go on a case by case,” one says.
That is not what bothers me the most here; what bothers me is that Boras has created a controversy the Mets don’t need right now as they enjoy a nice lead in the NL East. I get Boras protecting his client — all players want that — but I can’t think of another time in history when an agent has stepped in and called for a specific innings limit for his client.
If I were Sandy Alderson, I would be furious. The Mets said before the season that the soft limit on Harvey was around 200 innings, including the postseason. At the time, people snickered at the "postseason" part. They’re not snickering now.
So what should the Mets do? They have two options in my opinion.
They can ignore Boras. The Mets had a plan and have stuck to it. They have skipped some of Harvey’s starts, and it sounds like they will do it again. They haven’t been reckless with Harvey by any means. He threw a season-high 115 pitches on June 21, but every other start has been fewer than 110 pitches.
Those are reasonable and responsible numbers that fall in line with what Adam Wainwright did in 2012, his first season post-Tommy John. That season, Wainwright had three starts between 111 and 119 pitches; his other 32 starts were under 110 pitches. That includes three postseason starts. Wainwright threw 198 2/3 regular-season innings that year and 15 more in the postseason for a total of 213 2/3 innings.
The other option for the Mets is to give in to Boras, but I’d go all in. The Mets have a chance — a legitimate chance — to reach the World Series and potentially win it. They can’t do that without Harvey. Boras doesn’t want Harvey throwing more than 14 innings the rest of the year. In a spiteful move, I’d keep Harvey out of game action the rest of the season and give him Game 3 of the NLDS.
Regardless of what they decide, the Boras complaints would assure me of one thing if I were running the Mets: Jacob deGrom is now my Game 1 starter. Game 1 of the NLDS is on a Friday, Game 4 on Tuesday and Game 5 on Thursday. As deep as the Mets’ pitching is, you would like to have the option of bringing back your Game 1 starter on short rest, especially if you’re facing elimination, even if that means in relief. There is no chance Harvey is coming back on short rest.
Going public with this was a mistake by Boras. This should have been a private conversation between Boras and Alderson. If I’m Harvey, I’m not happy with my agent because this reflects poorly on him. Helicopter parenting is a problem in our country; we can’t have helicopter agents, too.