We found out on Wednesday that Cincinnati Reds starter Matt Harvey had been claimed by an unknown team after being placed on revocable waivers, and we later discovered that their own NL Central rivals from Milwaukee were the team that had done the claiming. That gave the Reds and Brewers exactly 48 hours to negotiate a potential deal, and with the deadline for those negotiations ending early Friday afternoon, it seems the Reds will not be trading Harvey to anyone after all. Both The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale and The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans had the news.
Source: Matt Harvey will NOT be traded to the Brewers. #Reds— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) August 24, 2018
Matt Harvey will stay with the Reds, GM Nick Krall says— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) August 24, 2018
Needless to say, this is a bit flabbergasting.
For one, Harvey is going to be a free agent at season’s end, meaning this is the final chance the Reds have to actually trade him and get something, anything of value in return. On top of that, they had the option to simply let he and the roughly $1.1 million remaining on his salary go to Milwaukee, which they also opted against doing despite being mired in last place in the division once again with several of their top position players on the shelf.
Beyond just the Harvey transaction decision, keeping him in the current six man rotation further damages the chances of seeing what the likes of Lucas Sims, Tyler Mahle, or Cody Reed could do in starting spots as the season dwindles down, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface. In fact, the only way any of this makes any sense at all is if the Reds wholeheartedly are going to attempt to keep Harvey around beyond 2018 with a contract extension - or simply signing him this offseason as a free agent - which is a concept that’s both a) a confusing one given Harvey no longer really being a top of the rotation starter and b) a complicated one given that he’s represented by top-dollar agent Scott Boras.
Truth be told, it’s similar in many ways to where the club was exactly one year ago with then All Star shortstop Zack Cozart, who ultimately wrapped his career year with the Reds and walked in free agency, netting the team nothing more than a few solid months of last-place stats in the process.
There’s bound to be some bit of further strategy here that simply isn’t visible from the surface. Otherwise, it’s just the latest in a string of seemingly questionable decisions.