FLUSHING, N.Y. — Matt Harvey electrified fans on Tuesday night, allowing only one hit in a spectacular nine-inning performance that, somehow appropriately, earned him a no decision as the Mets needed 10 innings to get on the board. Harvey, with a 95 mph fastball, a devastating slider and the stamina to consistently throw over 100 pitches per start, is the definition of a phenom and the closest thing to a ray of hope the Mets have had in years. Famously pessimistic fans are daring to believe that Harvey could actually turn the franchise around, at least in the few years before he is inevitably traded.
Harvey, 24 years old, is 4–0 on the season with an ERA of 1.28 and a league-leading WHIP of 0.69. Even better for the Mets, his salary for 2013 is just under $500 thousand.
“We better take advantage while we can,” said die-hard Mets fan Dave Andrews of Queens. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the kid, but this is the Mets. Where everything you love always falls apart, every time.”
In 2016, Harvey’s six-year contract with the team will be up for arbitration. With notoriously cutthroat agent Scott Boras representing him, it is unlikely that the superstar will be available for anything less than a fortune on the Mets’ payroll, which fatalist Mets fans know could easily force a trade.
“So here’s the dilemma,” said Bill Danielson, a fan outside Citi Field wearing an R.A. Dickey jersey, “if we buy the Matt Harvey merchandise, fill the stadium for games, then maybe the revenue and adoration will be enough to get him to stay. But if we do that, then we’re emotionally invested, and… you know how that turns out.”
The franchise could act quickly to renegotiate and extend Harvey’s contract in the very near future. but estimates from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) project that Harvey will be worth over $35 million for a four-year deal as soon as 2014. The Mets’ current payroll for this season alone is just $74 million, a third of what the highest paying teams have to offer.
“If he’s that good and makes people that hopeful, you have to ask,” writes Mets blogger Jerry Cassidy, “does he really fit in here in the first place?”