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The New York Mets have traded the pitcher formally known as the Dark Knight to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash considerations.
The move comes after the Mets designated Matt Harvey for assignment Saturday. The trade might come as a surprise to some considering the Reds were willing to give the Mets any assets for a struggling and disgruntled pitcher that has an ERA of seven.
For Harvey, it's been a long and tumultuous fall from grace. He burst on the scene in a big way in 2012 and looked like a top five pitcher in baseball in 2013, a year in which he got the all-star game start in Citi Field, before Tommy John surgery ended his season prematurely.
After missing all of 2014, Harvey returned strong in 2015, compiling a 13-8 record with a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts. There were many questions that year about limiting Harvey's innings coming off the surgery. Harvey's turn in the rotation was skipped a few times and he was pulled from starts early, but he didn't miss a start and pitched very well in the Mets postseason run to the World Series.
The last really good start Harvey made for the Mets was in the World Series ending game five. Harvey went eight shutout innings and put the Mets in prime position to extend the series to a sixth game.
Harvey went out to start the ninth inning, gave up a walk to Lorenzo Cain and then a run scoring double to Eric Hosmer. Harvey was pulled from the game and never looked the same.
Fans and the organization came into 2016 very excited for what was to come after a strong 2015 season. Harvey struggled on his way to a 4-10 record in 17 starts. Harvey failed to pitch 100 innings and his season was cut short when he needed surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is an injury that is career altering to most that suffer it and that proved to be the case for Harvey. The former ace came back in 2017 and struggled even more so than he did in 2016. In 2017, Harvey started 18 games, pitching to a 5-7 record and an ERA of 6.70.
Harvey was injury plagued in 2017 and looked to come back strong and healthy in 2018.
While he may have been healthy, he certainly wasn't strong for the Mets. After four starts in which Harvey struggled mightily, he was moved to the bullpen. The bullpen didn't prove to be a successful stint for Harvey where he struggled through three relief appearances and the Mets decided they wanted to option him to AAA Vegas.
According to the current collective bargaining agreement, players that have accrued five years of major league service time can refuse an outright assignment to the minors. This is exactly what happened with Harvey, so the Mets designated him for assignment.
Four days after being designated for assignment, Harvey was traded to the Reds.
The trade seems to be beneficial for both teams. It's low risk on both sides as the Reds get some much needed pitching depth, if Harvey can be productive, and the Mets get a catcher in Mesoraco.
The Mets have been relying on Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido behind the plate since mid-April when both Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down with injuries.
Mesoraco made his debut in 2011 and was an all-star in 2014 when he hit .273 with 25 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Mesoraco hasn't been able to return to his 2014 form in the last four seasons, failing to hit above .220.
The trade also gives the Reds the chance to give the full time catching job to Tucker Barnhart, the 2017 gold glove award winner for National League catchers.
With Nido and Lobaton both struggling, Mesoraco should get every opportunity to win the starting catcher job. He's had difficulties staying healthy since his all-star campaign in 2014, appearing in just 95 games over the following three seasons.
“I have the opportunity to show I'm still capable of playing,” Mesoraco said.