Mets to introduce Eppler, and could one of the "Five Aces" be coming home?
New York will officially introduce their new general manager on Friday afternoon. Plus, could the club look to bring back on of their former vaunted pitchers?
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
The Mets officially announced the hiring of Billy Eppler as the team’s new general manager on a four-year contract
Eppler will officially be introduced by the club in a press conference today at 12:30 PM
The Mets have interest in a potential reunion with free agent LHP Steven Matz (Heyman)
Rick Renteria could be in the mix for Mets’ managerial opening (NY Daily News)
The Mets continue to be linked to free agent CF Starling Marte, along with at least seven other teams (Heyman)
A Reunion for the Books 📝
It wasn’t all that long ago that we were thinking about how Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz could be the Mets’ best starting five ever. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
Following Syndergaard’s surprise decision to spurn the Mets’ qualifying offer in favor of a slightly more lucrative one year pact with the Angels, deGrom is now the only one of those five still in New York. And while just today it was rumored that the Mets have interest in trying to bring Matz back as a free-agent this winter, I’m mildly intrigued in another reunion.
Enter one, Matt Harvey. I know what you’re thinking… but I’m serious. Yes, this is the same Harvey whose rapid ascension to superstardom was almost unparalleled and whose subsequent fall from grace after a series of arm injuries occurred seemingly overnight. When Harvey left the Mets in a trade midway through the 2018 season the divorce was very bitter. He’d recently been relegated to the bullpen and he wasn’t happy about it and as his performance on the field deteriorated, the drama that seemed to follow him off it became less and less acceptable. When the Mets finally DFA’d him and ultimately shipped him to Cincinnati, the general consensus was that the move had to happen for everyone involved.
Harvey pitched better, though not great, for the Reds but following the ’18 campaign was able to ink a contract with the Angels — a deal orchestrated by none other than the Amazin’s new GM Billy Eppler who, at the time, held the same position in LA. His Angels career lasted only 12 ineffective starts, and during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, his 11.2 innings for Kansas City did nothing to save a career that looked like it was on life support.
Desperate for an opportunity that he knew could easily be his last, during spring training last February, Harvey was able to latch on with the Orioles on what at the time was billed as a minor league deal. A decent spring allowed him to make Baltimore’s roster when they headed north for opening day. And while his 2021 season was a night-and-day cry from his days as the heralded Dark Knight, it represented a step in the right direction for him. For one, the righty was able to make 28 starts for the O’s and throw 127.2 frames for a rebuilding club that desperately needed rotation stability. Sure his 6.27 ERA wasn’t great, and neither was his 1.54 WHIP or .299 batting average against. The list could go on.
But you know what was great about Harvey in 2021? His poise. His demeanor. His maturity. The ’21 version of himself that Harvey presented to the world was that of a 32-year-old who had grown up and learned from a lot of the mistakes and missteps he’d made when he was younger. His press conference following his start for the Orioles at Citi Field last summer was telling. The way he spoke about his time with the Mets and the way the emotions came flooding back in after taking the mound again in Queens pretty clearly indicated some of the bitterness from the divorce has faded.
At this point, Harvey is a veteran free-agent coming off a season that watched him lose 14 games with an ERA north of six. His market will not be robust. But there’s one team that his presence could mean colossally more for, and that team resides right here in Flushing. If the Mets were to offer Harvey a minor league contract with an invite to big league spring training, what would they have to lose if he accepted? The team could use the depth with their rotation uncertainty and if it didn’t work out, the two sides could go their separate ways again with the closure of knowing they tried to have a fairytale ending that simply wasn’t meant to be. But what if it went the other way? What if Harvey somehow made the team? What if he earned a spot in the starting five? What if he somehow turned back the clock and was actually… good?
Could you even imagine the story?
Hot Stove 🔥
Angels RHP/OF/DH Shohei Ohtani and Phillies RF Bryce Harper were officially named the AL and NL MVPs
SS Trevor Story had an in-person visit with the Texas Rangers (Dallas Morning News)
The Rays have offered SS Wander Franco a 10-year contract extension worth between $150-200 million (TB Times)
The Rockies and C Elias Díaz officially agreed to a three-year contract extension
Prospect Watch ⚾
Yesterday’s stats in the Arizona Fall & Dominican Winter Leagues
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 prospect): 2-for-4, 2 2B, R