During executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias’ season-ending news briefing on September 30th, he was asked if he thought that re-signing starting pitcher Matt Harvey,was a possibility.
Harvey, who led the Orioles in starts with 28, was the highest-paid pitcher on the staff, with a $1 million salary, after he signed a minor league contract at the beginning of spring training.
His stats weren’t impressive, a 6-14 record with a 6.27 earned-run average, the second-highest ERA of any pitcher with a minimum of 100 innings pitched.
Harvey didn’t get much support from his offense; in 15 of his starts, the Orioles scored two runs or fewer. He also was hit hard at times; in eight starts, Harvey allowed five or more earned runs and in 17 of his 28 starts, he allowed more than a hit per inning.
“I thought he had a really good year for himself—and for us,” Elias said. “His ERA wasn’t sparkling but coming off barely pitching at all last year and the injury issues, he threw [127 2/3] innings. We did not play particularly good defense behind him. Even by our own team’s standards, we were bad behind Matt Harvey and he kept going out there and taking the ball and logging innings and kept us in games.”
Harvey, 32, began the season in the rotation as the team’s second starter and stayed in it until he was placed on the 60-day injured list on September 12th because of right knee inflammation.
Harvey twice won three straight games-from April 20th-May 1st, and from July 18th-July 30th.
His three late July starts were particularly impressive. In 18 1/3 scoreless innings, Harvey allowed just 10 hits. He pitched six one-hit innings against the Washington Nationals on July 24th.
His knee began bothering him in his next start, on August 4th at Yankee Stadium when he had to leave after four innings. He said it was minor and continued to pitch.
From May 12th-June 15th, Harvey started seven times, allowing seven earned runs twice, six earned runs one, and five earned runs three times.
However, the Orioles needed Harvey in the starting rotation. John Means missed six weeks because of left shoulder fatigue, and others weren’t effective.
Harvey made a return to Citi Field on May 12th and gave up seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the New York Mets. Harvey’s best years came with the Mets. He was known as the Dark Knight, starting the 2013 All-Star Game and pitching in the 2015 World Series.
Harvey was often self-critical during Zoom interviews and once, unprompted, used several expletives to describe his performance.
He received high marks for mentoring young pitchers and, after a lengthy postgame interview upon his return to Citi Field, New York media members expressed surprise at how analytical and cooperative Harvey had been after a poor performance.
Harvey pitched for four organizations after leaving the Mets in 2018 and was eager to prove himself after he went 0-3 with an 11.57 ERA in seven games with Kansas City in 2020.
It seems unlikely that Harvey will return to the Orioles, but Elias said it’s a possibility.
“He’s in a better position now than he was a year ago at this time last year, and I know he liked it here, and we liked him, so we’ll see,” Elias said. “He’s on the list. He’s going to have opportunities as well.”
Lakins to Norfolk, Burdi claimed: Right-hander Travis Lakins, who ended the season on the 60-day injured list because of surgery on his right elbow, cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Right-hander Zack Burdi was claimed on waivers by Arizona.
Lakins, who was the first of seven players on the 60-day injured list who must be taken off it, was 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in 24 games. He had five stints with Orioles this season and was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 30th. Three days later, he was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Burdi was claimed on waivers from the Chicago White Sox on August 16th and was recalled form Norfolk on August 30th. He pitched a scoreless inning in his only appearance with the Orioles on September 6th.
The Orioles have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
The other players on the 60-day injured list are: Matt Harvey, who will become a free agent after the World Series; left-hander Keegan Akin; right-handers Hunter Harvey and Jorge López; infielder Jorge Mateo; and outfielder DJ Stewart.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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