Mets fans voiced their concerns across multiple New York media outlets on Thursday as the Mets announced that Matt Harvey had been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates in return for Harvey sent 2B Josh Harrison, CF Juan De Leon, RP Jonah Small and $8.5m in cash.
When the news was announced Mets fans flooded the local sports radio stations and social media to show their anger at the decision to trade Harvey. Fans concerned about the decision and the future of the franchise as the Mets have had just one season above .500 in the last 10 seasons.
In a press conference earlier today, Mets GM Kevin Sweeney addressed the media about the trade.
“While the decision to trade Harvey was not an easy one and certainly not one that will be popular with the fans. This was simply a business decision that is in the best interest of the Mets future. I hope the fans will trust my decision and will see the benefits of this move long term.”
When asked to be more specific about the reasons for the trade and the long term benefits of this move this is how GM Sweeney responded.
“As GM we are faced with many difficult decisions that are based on things that the fans do not always see and quite frankly don’t always care about. It is my job to make sure we stay competitive in the NL East and at the same time remain profitable. We are faced with needing to reduce payroll by next season and quite Frankly Harvey was going to cost us way too much money over the next 4 years. While he has been a great pitcher for us, his production has declined each of the last 2 seasons and injuries has been a factor too. We extended John Gant’s contract last year to keep the young stud who has become the #1 guy of our starting rotation and will continue to get better. Keeping them both at these contracts was not going to work long term. We also have our top prospect Dave Reed ready to join the MLB team and we expect great things from him also”
The Media questioned GM Sweeney on what they got in return for Harvey and wondered if the Mets should have got more.
“We approached many teams about dealing Harvey and to be honest no one wants to take on that kind of contract and interest was slim. The Pirates GM reached out to us showing interest in Harvey but obviously finances for the Pirates in a much smaller market made the deal difficult. We knew going into negotiations that any deal was going to need to involve 2B Josh Harrison and cash in the deal to help make this work for the Pirates. We have very little talent in the organization at Right Field and are always looking for help in our Bullpen. So these were two areas we knew we needed to address with this trade, with our payroll situation they needed to be prospects. OF Juan De Leon is a tremendous talent and instantly becomes our best batting prospect in the organization, he is the perfect Mets player bringing us speed, defense and solid contact at the plate. With our lack of options at the position, he could make the MLB team this year. In the bullpen, we bring in RP Jonah Small who shows leadership skills and a very intelligent pitcher. At the age of 25, he also could find his way into the MLB bullpen at some point this year or next year. While Harrison brings a big contract also, we save $10m dollars in payroll in each of the next 3 seasons. We still have work to do to get the payroll in check but I believe this is a great move for the Mets to allow us to make some decisions on extending younger talent over the next few seasons.
After the press conference Mets fans are still showing their dismay at this trade and only time will tell if this was a good move for the Mets.