Posted on May 9, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Just a few days after the New York Mets designated him for assignment, they have found a taker for Matt Harvey. Tuesday evening, the Mets worked out a trade for Harvey with the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange for Harvey, the Mets received catcher Devin Mesoraco. As part of the deal, the Mets will pay the remainder of Harvey’s $5.625 million salary while the Reds do the same for Mesoraco’s $13.125 million salary.
For Harvey, the trade represents a much-needed change of scenery as he approaches free agency this winter. After four largely forgettable starts this season, the Mets moved Harvey to the bullpen. However, the results there weren’t any better. In 27 innings of work this season, he has an ERA of 7.00.
While Harvey won’t be going to a contending team, the Reds plan to utilize him as a starter. Cincinnati’s starting rotation has the highest ERA in the National League, so they shouldn’t have a problem making room for him. With the Reds miles from contention barely a month into the season, they should have a long leash for Harvey, giving him a chance to turn things around.
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Meanwhile, the Reds used the trade to part ways with Mesoraco, who had fallen out of favor in Cincinnati. Mesoraco was an all-star in 2014 and signed a four-year extension the following winter. But since signing that contract he has suffered one injury after another. From 2015 to 2017, Mesoraco played in just 95 total games while also struggling to do much offensively.
This season, Mesoraco has started just 10 games behind the plate. He has served as the backup to Tucker Barnhart, has emerged as the team’s primary catcher the past couple of seasons while Mesoraco was on the DL. The Reds signed Barnhart to an extension late in the 2017 season, solidifying him as the club’s preferred choice over Mesoraco.
As for the Mets, they asked teams with interest in Harvey for a catcher in return, and they got one in Mesoraco. New York’s catching situation was thrown for a loop early in the year when they lost both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to injury in less than 48 hours. The Mets have tried to get by with Jose Lobaton and youngster Tomas Nido splitting catching duties since then. But neither has been able to perform offensively.
Eventually, Plawecki should return from injury and become the team’s primary catcher. But he appears to be a few weeks away. Until then Mesoraco may get an opportunity to become the team’s regular backstop. If he can stay healthy and regain the form he had a few years ago, Mesoraco could provide the Mets with an answer behind the plate even after Plawecki returns. If nothing else, the Mets are hoping Mesoraco can at least be a competent backup.
Ultimately, this trade is about two players getting a second chance with teams hoping that lightning strikes. Neither the Mets or Reds will expect much out of Mesoraco and Harvey, respectively. However, both have enough of a track record to give each team a glimmer of hope that this trade will pay off.