Baumann: Matt Harvey, the Mets, and Moral Hazard

From SABR member Michael J. Baumann at Grantland on September 8, 2015:

It was inevitable for several reasons that Matt Harvey’s innings limit would blow up into the weekend’s biggest story. Harvey is the biggest star in a New York baseball landscape in which Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have retired, David Wright is often injured, and Alex Rodriguez has completed his transformation into the physical manifestation of Vanth, the winged demon of the underworld from Etruscan mythology, so any news about Harvey’s ability or willingness to play is big.

Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, recently expressed concern over his client’s workload. His understanding was that Harvey, a year removed from Tommy John surgery, would throw no more than 180 innings this season. Harvey, who’s set to face the second-place Nationals tonight, has already thrown 166.1 innings with almost a month left in the season, plus the playoffs still to come.

It took mere hours for Boras’s comment to turn into a full-blown, gate-suffixed scandal, with the Mets, Boras, and the surgeon Dr. James Andrews all offering their accounts of what was promised and when, as well as whether this hypothetical innings limit was a hard number like the one imposed on Stephen Strasburg in 2012, or whether the looming and somewhat unexpected playoff run afforded some wiggle room.

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Originally published: September 9, 2015. Last Updated: September 9, 2015.