The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline came, went, and Matt Harvey was still a member of the Cincinnati Reds. And while there is still a shot he can be moved during August in either a waiver-claim deal or should he clear waivers altogether, the market for the former New York Mets ace continues to be incredibly slow developing.
I suppose that’s what happens when you have multiple arm surgeries and a few years of underperformance.
The pitching market as a whole continues to flow, however, as yesterday the Detroit Tigers traded starter Mike Fiers to the Oakland Athletics, who are looking to bolster their starting rotation options for a push towards the postseason. Fiers, 33, is neither household name nor complete game-changer, but is certainly having a fine 2018 season: a 128 ERA+ in 119.0 IP, a 3.35 K/BB ratio, and 3.1 bWAR to date, all for a guy making $6 million total this year with team control for 2019, too. All that, though, only brought an incredibly limited return, as the Tigers will only receive cash considerations or a pair of players to be named later, which hardly inspires a ton of confidence that the Reds will be able to cash in on Harvey, who theoretically has considerably less trade value at the moment than Fiers.
With the A’s now seemingly out of the market for starting pitching depth, the list of potential landing spots for Harvey continues to diminish, too. I still feel like the Seattle Mariners would be a logical fit, given that Marco Gonzales and Wade LeBlanc are almost certainly going to run into innings-limit dilemmas as the M’s make a push for their first postseason berth since the Coolidge Administration. That said, all it really takes is a banged-up member of a contender’s rotation to potentially open up a need for a guy like Harvey, and that just might’ve happened yesterday with the world-beating Houston Astros...
Lance McCullers, Jr. was diagnosed with a forearm strain and is on the 10-day DL, meaning the ‘stros just might be looking for some pitching depth this year after all. As MLB Trade Rumors’ Jeff Todd noted, they’ve got options already in-house in former starters Colin McHugh and Brad Peacock, but given how relatively low the asking price must be for a guy like Harvey from the Reds end, perhaps there could be a fit - even for a cut rate.
At this point, moving Harvey to open up a spot in the rotation for the likes of Robert Stephenson full time, or even to give additional chances to Cody Reed or Tyler Mahle appears to be as pertinent as actually getting a concrete prospect in return. At least, it sure as hell should be for a team in the position where the Reds currently sit, in a rebuild year with hopes that 2019 can be a year of some winning, finally.
Over at FanGraphs, Harvey’s name pops up on a list of August Trade Targets put together by friend of the blog Dan Szymborski.
In other news, it appears Dilson Herrera might actually get a chance to play once or twice a month, which is a marked improvement on the playing time the former top prospect has been getting lately. As MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed, Herrera will begin to get rotational time in RF since the OF pair of Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler are sidelined with shoulder issues and Adam Duvall is no longer around. Why this is such a) a big deal and b) not something that has already happened is baffling to me, since other clubs seem much more willing to move their guys around the diamond to get them playing time than the Reds do, which just seems purely stubborn. Herrera is out of options after this year and is still just 24 years old, and finding ways to get his bat in the lineup now, and going forward, is a damn vital thing to do, and it’s frustrating as all hell to hear Mason Williams needs a RH counterpart as the reasoning to get Dilson some playing time instead of he’s a damn good hitter and we’re going to do everything we can to get him some clock. At least it seems he might finally, finally not just rot on the bench for weeks at a time anymore.
(Speaking of which - and there’s no link for this since it’s just me spit-waddin’ - I get the impression that it’s going to be quite a good bit of time before we see Scott Schebler in the lineup in the OF again, which is a damn shame.)
Finally, it appears Joey Votto’s going to get tonight’s game off, as manager Jim Riggleman said following last night’s game that he won’t play the 1B today to let his banged-up knee get some time off. Ryan Madson’s 96 mph heater caught him pretty square over the weekend, and despite Votto’s 2-hit, walk night last night, he was visibly limping. Brandon Dixon will likely get the start at 1B in his stead.