San Francisco Giants: Making the case to sign Matt Harvey to a new role

San Francisco Giants, Matt Harvey (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants, Matt Harvey (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants have become known for their low-risk acquisitions and former All-Star Matt Harvey is a player they should absolutely take a chance on.

The San Francisco Giants enter the 2020 MLB season in the middle of a complete rebuild. While the team has a notable lack of top-tier talent, they were able to overachieve to the tune of a 77-85 record last season.

San Francisco’s 69.5 win projection would put the team in contention for one of the worst records in baseball.

Baseball fans in the Bay Area are hoping that their beloved Giants will be able to fight their way toward a .500 record as the front office attempts to land significant All-Star level talent over the next several seasons.

However, the franchise does find themselves in a position where they have very low expectations. This presents an opportunity to make some high-risk, high-reward moves before the beginning of the regular season.

What better way to do this with the ultimate gamble — signing former New York Mets’ ace Matt Harvey?

The Issues

Let’s be clear on the front end — Harvey is completely removed from his era of dominance with the Mets. The 2013 version of the Dark Night is a thing of the past.

Harvey has found himself as a fringe MLB player. The pitcher has posted an abysmal 6.02 ERA since 2018. Most recently, Harvey found himself being cut by the Angels after a 3-5 record and 7.09 ERA before landing a minor league contract with the Athletics.

As Spring Training begins, he is currently out of work.

These statistics have raised questions about whether Harvey will receive another opportunity to pitch at the major-league level.

A New Role

All this information begs the following question. Why should the San Francisco Giants even consider adding a player with Matt Harvey’s recent track record? This is an especially pressing question when one considers the fact that the team currently has a surplus of starting pitching.

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There is one potential solution to this issue — move Harvey into a permanent role in the bullpen. The Giants staff of relievers currently consists of a mixed bag of marginal talent. In fact, most casual baseball fans would not recognize any of the bullpen by name.

While Harvey has been outspoken about his desire to remain a starting pitcher in the past, he finally showed a willingness to consider the change last season.

Although honestly, the decision no longer lies in the former ace’s hands. He must be willing to accept a role he is offered if he seriously hopes to continue his MLB career.

All but five of Harvey’s 145 major-league appearances have come as a starter. A shift in role and a decreased workload could give the Dark Night an opportunity to try to recapture a small portion of his former self.

The Numbers

Matt Harvey’s career numbers show that he is much more efficient the first time through a lineup. He has recorded a solid 3.85 career ERA during the first three innings of his starts.

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However, that number balloons to a 4.29 ERA during his second time facing each batter (innings 4-6). Whether this struggle is due to fatigue or opposing hitters figuring out his strategy, it is clear that the former star wears down as the game progresses.

Adding Harvey strictly as a relief pitcher could help curb some of his biggest issues. If Harvey still has the ability to record outs, he could be greatly aided by only seeing each batter once each game.

The Conclusion

So why not take a flyer on Harvey as a low-leverage relief option? The Giants could sign him to a minor league deal at the lowest possible rate. If he shows the ability to miss bats, there could be potential to bring him up to deploy in easy spots.

If he performs well, San Francisco could slowly give him more responsibility. If the 7.00+ ERA Harvey returns, the team would be under no obligation to keep him.

At the end of the day, the Giants are in a position to take this kind of gamble. It’s not as through a disastrous outing is going to cost the team a chance at a World Series. The front office would be wise to take advantage of any opportunity to add talent to their roster.

Imagine if a humbled Harvey could find a way to become even an average reliever this season. He could be a valuable piece for the franchise, both as a weapon in the bullpen and even as a potential trade chip.

Next. San Francisco Giants: A complete fantasy baseball guide for 2020. dark

Why not roll the dice and see if Matt Harvey has one more superhero-like performance left in the tank?