The Mets and Matt Harvey have finally — fully — parted ways.
On the clock to trade him before he might become a free agent, the Mets salvaged something out of Harvey, trading him on Tuesday to the team they happen to be facing this week, the Cincinnati Reds. Harvey, one of the best pitchers in baseball less than three years ago, will now be a reclamation project on the worst team in baseball.
In exchange for Harvey, the Mets received cash and the oft-injured catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was in the Reds’ starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game until the trade was announced just under an hour before first pitch. Mesoraco, 29, then switched clubhouses at Great American Ball Park.
Harvey, also 29, will not face his former team this week, as he will join the Reds for their next series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers beginning Thursday. His performance declined significantly after some injuries, and he had struggled mightily both as a starter and as a reliever this season.
Harvey’s tenure with the Mets came to an end after they designated him for assignment on Saturday following his refusal to take a minor league assignment, which was within his rights. The Mets had seven days to either trade him or release him if he cleared waivers.
Tuesday’s deal is essentially a swap of players to fill needs. The Reds entered Tuesday with the worst record in baseball and a pitching staff that was largely to blame. The Mets desired catching help because of injuries to their two starters at the position: Travis d’Arnaud (who had season-ending Tommy John surgery) and Kevin Plawecki (who is expected to return later this month from a fractured left hand). Their fill-ins, the journeyman Jose Lobaton and the rookie Tomas Nido, combined to hit .156 with zero home runs in 33 games entering Tuesday.
Mesoraco has been slightly better; he hit .220 with one home run in 18 games. He was once an All-Star, in 2014, when he hit .273 with 25 home runs. But in the 2015-2017 seasons, he hit .191 in just 95 games because of a litany of health issues including operations on both hips, a broken foot, and surgery on his left shoulder.