The Orioles’ starting pitching mix for spring training added another veteran reclamation project Saturday as the team agreed to a minor league contract with former All-Star right-hander Matt Harvey, according to an industry source.
The deal, which is pending a physical, will be worth $1 million if Harvey makes the major league team, according to a source, similar to the Orioles’ signing of Félix Hernández on a minor league deal last week.
Harvey, 31, joins a group of experienced pitchers including Hernández and Wade LeBlanc, who they’ll bring to camp to supplement a rotation that’s headed by All-Star John Means and could feature rookies Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer but has plenty of question marks elsewhere.
Harvey is several seasons removed from his peak years with the New York Mets. He was an All-Star in 2013 at age 24, pitching to a 2.27 ERA with a 0.931 WHIP in 26 starts for the New York Mets. He missed 2014 after having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, but returned for their World Series season in 2015 to pitch to a 2.71 ERA in a full season that year.
His career hasn’t hit those heights since. Harvey has 87 major league appearances (79 starts) to his name in the ensuing five seasons, which were spent with the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals. He had a 5.82 ERA and a 1.504 WHIP in that span.
Pitching in the shortened 2020 season with the Royals, Harvey had an 11.57 ERA in seven appearances (four starts) with a 2.743 ERA
Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said Friday that he was hoping to add another major league pitcher to the spring training mix, one that’s increasingly crowded when it comes to starting pitching depth after the Orioles brought Hernández and LeBlanc in as part of a big crop of minor league signings in the last month.
“We’ve got a bunch of young pitchers that are in the mix for that rotation, which is great,” Elias said. “I think a lot of the minor league free agents that we signed this winter that were on this list that we haven’t seen yet are interesting arms and we’re going to get a look at some of those guys too, and they’re all pretty much length guys or starters. We’ve got the Rule 5 guys [Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells] that are in the mix. But I think if we’re able to bring in another veteran major league starter in some way into this camp, we’re going to continue to look at that.”