CHICAGO — Matt Harvey was mad.
The righthander stormed through the clubhouse to stand in front of his locker and face questions about his night, about his journey back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
He glared at reporters and challenged questions, but the 29-year old was mad at himself.
“It’s kind of hard to take any positives out of the last two years for me. It’s extremely frustrating,” Harvey said after the Mets’ 17-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. “It’s hard going out there and not doing what I can to help this team win.
“All in all it’s extremely frustrating,” Harvey snapped. “That’s all you can say about tonight.”
While he tries to remain positive through this battle back from his second major surgery in three years, Harvey has always known the results aren’t there.
Wednesday night, however, was the first time he admitted how angry it is making him.
It was reminiscent of Harvey back in 2013 or 2015 when he had a bad outing.
He even brought back his old saying: “I am going to take my 24 hours and be angry about this one, there are still three starts to go and just be better.”
But there are questions about how much better Harvey can be going forward. This winter the Mets face a big decision with Harvey in a less than ideal situation.
His value could not be lower, but this, his final year of arbitration before free agency, was when the Mets had eyed trading him. GM Sandy Alderson has said he won’t likely make trades when his players values are down.
The Mets paid him $ 5.127 million this year and they will have to offer something similar or better going into his final year of arbitration. They would have to hope his struggles are from the TOS surgery he had last June and he is motivated by being in his walk year. They could also simply not offer him a contract and let him walk. Mets sources described non-tendering Harvey is “highly unlikely,” at this point.
Harvey knows he’s put himself in this situation not only with his struggles on the mound, but off-the-field issues like when he was suspended by the team in May for not showing up for a game.
“That’s obviously not easy, I don’t want to leave the Mets, I don’t want to not play in New York, it’s not at all that I want to leave, but that’s the business,” Harvey said last month as he neared his comeback. “It’s kind of maturing and learning the ins and outs of baseball and realizing especially this year, seeing guys like Curtis Granderson, who loved playing here and who loved playing in New York now he’s helping the Dodgers, you realize that’s always a possibility.
“I never wanted to imagine it would be, but with the injuries I’ve had some of the other outside distractions that I have caused, which I am not proud of, it makes those decisions easier for management,” Harvey continued. “It sucks, but it’s the way it is. The only thing I can do is move forward and try to put myself in the best position to help this team win and whatever decisions they make, I will just have to deal with it.”
Wednesday night, Harvey was charged with five runs on seven hits, he walked four and struck out one. His velocity, a problem after TOS surgery, was good. He touched 96 miles an hour. The hits were not hard-contact hits, but his command was not good, and he labored.
“It’s gonna be hard, it’s gonna be tough, but he can handle it,” Terry Collins said. “Nobody knows what the road back was going to be like. There is no real set experience with a lot of guys who had (TOS).”
This whole journey has been laborious for Harvey. He has tried being patient. Wednesday night, he was tired and frustrated and he let it show.
“It’s very tough, there is not much else to say. It’s been very hard, a very tough year. A very tough two years,” Harvey said. “A lot of work is going in and it’s not paying off. And it’s becoming very frustrating for me.”
Harvey barely held his anger in check Wednesday night. The frustration is obvious. He’s not talking about positives anymore, Harvey wants to see results. The Mets need to see that, too.