Orioles' Elias leaves door open for Matt Harvey; Lakins assigned to Norfolk, Burdi claimed by Arizona - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Elias leaves door open for Matt Harvey; Lakins assigned to Norfolk, Burdi claimed by Arizona

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.

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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

39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Orial

    October 15, 2021 at 8:06 am

    I have nothing really against a Matt Harvey return but it will just amplifly a failed off-season of attempting to bring in useful arms for the rotation. A parallel move(maybe even back a step). The other Harvey?—I have no good vibes.

  2. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    October 15, 2021 at 8:20 am

    The O’s need to improve their MLB coaching staff and/or strategies IMO. Coaches need to be motivators and also need to be adaptable to teach more than one approach for success. They need authority to require players put in the necessary practice to improve. I love Pedro Severino, but when I see Hyde was a catcher, I question how much time he put in personally trying to coach Severino how to better block balls in the dirt? Too much stagnation and regression in performance is frustrating for me as a fan…

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 15, 2021 at 8:37 am

      Joe, Hyde was a catcher, but he had two other catchers on his coaching staff. Tim
      Cossins is tasked to work with catchers and Fredi Gonzalez was, as well.

      Managers occasionally personally coach a player, but when you have Cossins, whose job it was to specifically work with catchers, they shouldn’t have to.

      • Orioles20

        October 15, 2021 at 9:22 am

        And how’s that working? Severino is one of if not the worse defensive catcher in the league.

        • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

          October 15, 2021 at 7:32 pm

          Out of 47 catchers with at least 400 innings behind the plate, Severino is rated 45th defensively by FanGraphs. Only Salvador Perez (KCR) and Zack Collins (CWS) were rated worse defensively in 2021. I don’t have much insight on how coaching and practice works in the MLB, I coached HS baseball but we only had 2-3 games a week, but practiced every weekday through the season. Generally, if we saw a glaring weakness, we would try to address it immediately but did not always have success in overcoming the weakness. Grfff, grfff, mumble, mumble, having trouble thinking through how Severino has progressively got worse in blocking balls the past 3 years since coming from the Nats – 1 PB/WP every 20.5 innings with the Nats in 2017; then 1 every 14.4, 13.1, and 11.6 innings 2019-2021 with the Orioles. It feels like the O’s might force a singular teaching technique in areas such as blocking pitches and batting approach. Grfff, grfff, mumble, mumble

    • CalsPals

      October 15, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      Then are they both still on staff, if they are, why?….are they cheap?…go O’s…

  3. Birdman

    October 15, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Keeping the door open for Harvey is okay, but hope this is not a signal that the Orioles plan to continue to field a dollar store pitching staff in 2022.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 15, 2021 at 8:59 am

    So Matt Harvey was the only pitcher on the team this year that made $1 million. That says it all.

    And Matt Burdi has a perfect 0.0 ERA not to mention a WAR in the positive for the O’s this past year …. and they lose him on waivers to the Diamondbacks! What are they thinking? (What are the DBacks thinking?)

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 15, 2021 at 9:29 am

      No, it doesn’t say it all. Yes, they didn’t spend money for veteran pitchers, but pitchers not yet eligible for arbitration, Grayson Rodriguez will make far less than a million.

      If it makes you feel better, Ken, Means and Lopez will make more than a million in 2022 because they’re eligible for arbitration.

      Hopefully, they’ll spend on some experienced relievers.

      Harvey being the only pitcher they spent $1 million on—that says part of it—but not all.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 15, 2021 at 12:08 pm

        I respectfully disagree Rich …the fact that you only have a single 1.0 million dollar pitcher on your staff says everything about this supposedly major league franchise and their total disregard for the 2021 season. It doesn’t take a Yale graduate to understand the O’s were woefully short of pitching going into last season. And yet they traded away what few decent pitchers they had for a handfull of prospects. All about the Benjamins.

        I apologize if my adhoc googling this morning is incorrect, but I find thatt he median salary for a starting MLB pitcher is 5.2 million. The median for ANY MLB pitcheris 2.8 million. You can talk all you want about how they were hoping the youngsters would step up, but to have not added ANYbody from outside the organization was simply folly. There were more than a couple handfulls of capable free agent pitchers available last year for well under that 2.8 Median.

        And what would make me happier is if the team were to invest a bit more than what the arbitrator is going to give Means, any maybe give him a 3 year extension at the going rate. But imagine they’ll go the cheap again, and give him what the arbitrator says they have to, nothing more. I’ll be happy to be wrong about that.

        • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

          October 15, 2021 at 7:35 pm

          Dude Harvey was added from outside the organization…

          And Plutko too…

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 15, 2021 at 8:39 pm

            Yes true … but both were had for under a million….Plutko for well less …that was the basis of the discussion. They also picked up a slew of other nickle/dime pitchers thoughout the year. Sorry if I sounded like they didn’t sign anybody. They simply didn’t sign anybody worth noting….salarywise noteable anyway.

          • Birdman

            October 15, 2021 at 8:47 pm

            Plutko, 7 seasons in the minors and major league minimum salary, and Harvey who has not had a winning season since 2015 … not exactly quality upgrades to the pitching staff.

  5. Orioles20

    October 15, 2021 at 9:39 am

    I think all of our pitchers could’ve been better had we had a defense behind them. Severino is the worse catcher in he league by far. He had like negative eight defensive runs saved. How many balls did we see Stewart misplay in the outfield? The orioles were not a fundamentally sound team. And to me that’s a indictment on Hyde and the coaching staff. I get Hyde didn’t have the talent on the team but the team couldn’t even execute a rundown not once but twice in the same series against the Indians. Hyde blew games multiple times with his poor management of the bullpen and pitching staff. How does a guy like Mike Shildt get fired but Hyde can keep his job?

    • Bhoffman1

      October 15, 2021 at 1:25 pm

      Because St Louis is one of the best franchises in baseball year in year out. They care about winning first round playoffs is not enough. I still don’t get how we are a small cap city but St. Louis is a big cap city with I assume a big payroll. Can you explain that to me Rich.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 15, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      Bruce, St. Louis’ television market is the 23rd largest in the country, Baltimore is the 28th, but unlike the Orioles, the Cardinals draw from many areas where there is no big league baseball.

      The Orioles have the Nationals to the south and the Phillies to the north. The Cardinals don’t have another franchise within 240 miles.

      St. Louis also has a much larger corporate base than does Baltimore, which does not have a Fortune 500 company.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 15, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Dude you are looking at DRS stats and still write Severino is the worse catcher in the league by far…what baloney, misinformation! Go work for CNN O20

  6. cedar

    October 15, 2021 at 9:42 am

    I appreciated that Matt Harvey never made excuses and took the mound on a regular basis. I think a lot of the younger players can learn a lot from how he approaches the game. If no other team is interested the O’s giving him a spring invite could be mutually beneficial.

    • Icterus fan

      October 15, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      Agree with Cedar’s sentiment.
      Yes Harvey’s W-L record (I know – an “old fashioned” metric) was bad, but the guy gave it his all. He didn’t complain, no excuses, and tried to keep his team in games. He was far from perfect, but good grief, how many times did his team not score runs for him?
      You need offense, even if your pitcher is dealing.

  7. Triandos 11

    October 15, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Not sure Harvey would be of any value to the Orioles next year. Best they part ways so the Orioles can start bringing up the future of this organization.

  8. NormOs

    October 15, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Is there a reason to discuss a pitcher that was 6 and 14 with (most importantly) an ERA of 6.27? In baseball’s former life he wouldn’t have made it to the end of the season. Does anyone really think he’s going to get any better? With 6.27 (7 runs) the O’s would need an 8 run average to even be competative when this guy pitches. And then he turns it over to the (gag) bullpen.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      October 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      It’s a long offseason, so why not discuss players? I don’t think it’s about his ERA or him getting better. Last year was about getting someone to eat innings during a non competitive season after a shortened covid season the year before. He didn’t have the season he hoped for but he gave the Os innings and took the ball every 5th day. So in that regard he did his job. The birds better get some help this offseason in free agency because the pitching staff was abysmal last year.

  9. willmiranda

    October 15, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Hot Stove discussions are fun. For example, Harvey used “unprompted” expletives on Zoom. Do the media usually prompt players with expletives? To raise ratings? Also, someone wondered about Arizona’s stealing a pitcher put on waivers from the O’s. Let’s not forget that they’re competing with us for that first draft pick. Finally, if both Means and Lopez are up for a million in arbitration, are we sure the O’s will offer them arbitration? The club has a history of non-tendering if they can’t win (the team, I mean, not the pitchers).

  10. dlgruber1

    October 15, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    I may be in the minority here but I’d have no problem with Harvey returning next season . I think he’s be a terrific mentor to GR and any other young pitchers. Yeh he didn’t have great stats but he pitched far better than his stats indicated because in some of starts the relievers came in and gave up the inherited runners which were charged to him. For the most part I thought he did a very commendable job. I liked his no excuses attitude as well, especially since he could have legitimately placed blame on the defense for some of his high numbers. Bottom line, I liked the guy. Having said that, if they’re willing to spend on better FA pitchers next season I’m all for it, but if not, bring him back.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 15, 2021 at 7:44 pm

      Matt Harvey’s FIP was 4.60, Means FIP was 4.62 in 2021.

    • dlgruber1

      October 15, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      As one who just isn’t up on all the alphabet stats I had to look FIP up and according to what I read Harvey would be an excellent candidate for a solid “bounce back” season next year. Again tho, I’m leery of all of the stats that either use “average player” or, in the case of this one, plays “that should be expected” to be made. In any case, as I stated in my original post, I’d be glad to have him back.

    • CalsPals

      October 15, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Feline COVID, way to go DS…;)….go O’s…

  11. Buzz1979

    October 15, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    I think Harvey will opt to not play in the bandbox next year!

    • CalsPals

      October 16, 2021 at 8:36 am

      Only if he has better offers, I’d be surprised if he does…go O’s…

  12. willmiranda

    October 16, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Better offers? What is the O’s offer? I didn’t see ME mentioning anything about salary. On the other hand, he did say that he expected Harvey to have other offers. Not that I disagree with you, but the O’s might lowball and then say they didn’t want to get into a bidding war, trying to save face all around. Sheer speculation on my part, but it is the offseason.

    • CalsPals

      October 16, 2021 at 10:06 am

      Take a breath, it was only a comment, didn’t say he had other offers, personally doubt he’d get any, but you never know, I didn’t mention salary, gonna be a long off season…go O’s…

      • willmiranda

        October 16, 2021 at 11:54 am

        Sorry, CP, I didn’t mean to sound polemic. Was referring rather to what I considered cagey comments by the VP. I just hooked onto “better offers” to question how good the O’s offer will be. I don’t think we can assume it will be as good or better than last year’s contract. Relating to Buzz’s comment, would Harvey take less money to leave the bandbox? Hope you all have a good weekend.

    • CalsPals

      October 16, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      Gotcha, great weekend, anniversary weekend for me & the Mrs….go O’s…

      • willmiranda

        October 17, 2021 at 1:16 pm

        Congrats! And much joy to you both!

  13. Icterus fan

    October 16, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    In theory it would be good to keep Harvey at minimum for the mentoring aspect of our young staff. Who knows, though – I am not sure of that dynamic and how invested/interested he is in their development.
    Maybe he can win 8-10 games if gets some run support.

  14. jimcarter

    October 17, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Another collection of spin. From June 1 to July 17th, on Tuesdays, until 8:47 p.m., so and so had an ERA under 5. Just one sentence made me dizzy. I can’t imagine how tedious it is to actually do the research to try to make a bad player sound good.

  15. John in Cincy

    October 17, 2021 at 1:11 am

    I think there’s a realistic chance that we’ll see Matt Harvey in spring training, maybe just getting a non-roster invitation. At times he looked really good, and it’s quite possible that he’s solid in 2022. It would be short-sighted to count him out. And it’s not like clubs are going to be knocking down his door to get him to sign.

    He had a great attitude in the face of some very tough sledding. If he was liked by Hyder, the coaches, and his teammates, and vice versa, he could be a good veteran presence for the youngsters. The fact that Elias hasn’t closed the door says quite a bit.

  16. Jammer Daniels 5

    October 19, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Seeing the Baltimore baseball press give Matt Harvey a article say 100 loses in 2022. ugh.

  17. Jammer Daniels 5

    October 19, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    when Baltimore’s baseball writers give Matt Harvey a off-season mention make me think 100 plus losses in 2022.

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