The New York Mets’ pitching staff was a big problem in 2017, with Matt Harvey serving as the best representative of the issue. Harvey has a world of talent but was unable to locate his pitches in 2017, leading to the worst season of his career as he pitched to a 6.70 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts). The Mets had some thoughts about shopping Harvey early in the winter, but they decided against that thanks to a good word from new manager Mickey Callaway. Callaway implored team brass to keep Harvey as he believed that he could get some good results out of Harvey. The Mets have given all of their pitchers, including Harvey, a new offseason throwing program and Callaway is very happy with the early returns.
Callaway has seen video of Harvey’s work and told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that Harvey is locating his pitches very well again. In his conversation with Morosi, Callaway noted that Harvey is “in a really good spot, mentally” and saw him “dotting the glove” with all of his pitches. Callaway also indicated that recovery from surgery to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which Harvey underwent in the summer of 2016, can take up to 18 months to fully recover from. Harvey is past that point now, and if Callaway is right the Mets could see glimpses of the old Harvey back, which would be huge for the Mets’ 2018 chances.
The Mets opted not to address their rotation with a veteran addition this winter, instead pinning their hopes on getting more out of what they already have. If the current crop of starters can stay healthy and produce, the Mets could have one of the best rotations in baseball again. The Mets have overhauled the medical department and brought in better coaching with Callaway and new pitching coach Dave Eiland, all of which should lead to better health and results for the rotation. If things break the Mets’ way, which is never a given considering their luck in recent years, they could be a surprise contender in the National League East.