Cincinnati Reds: Not trading Matt Harvey wasn’t the worst move

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 13: Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 13, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 13: Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 13, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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In an odd turn of events, the Cincinnati Reds did not unload Matt Harvey before the MLB Trade Deadline. While most fans will criticize the move, it could provide the Reds with some stability going into next season.

Alright, I know its not a popular opinion, but hanging onto Matt Harvey could turn out to be a good thing for the Cincinnati Reds. The MLB Trade Deadline came and went on Tuesday afternoon and Harvey is still a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bear with me, I know you’re getting frustrated. Yes, I believe the Reds traded away Devin Mesoraco to the New York Mets with the intention of flipping Matt Harvey at or before the July 31st deadline. However, the Reds either did not receive an offer that they felt was comparable or they value Harvey more than other teams.

In Harvey’s defense, he’s been nothing but solid since coming to the Reds. In fact, he’s been the best pitcher in the starting rotation since he arrived back in early May. Yes, he got touched up pretty good by the Pirates after the All-Star break, but he returned to form last weekend against the Phillies.

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Harvey’s fastball was touching in the mid-to-upper 90’s on the radar gun and struck out five batters in five innings. Interim manager Jim Riggleman pulled Harvey after five innings, not due to fatigue or poor performance, but because he preferred a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning. Harvey, at that point, had only thrown 92 pitches and only allowed two runs.

Most fans will argue that keeping Harvey stunts the growth of young pitchers. While I see the merit in that thought process, I would argue that losing games can suck the morale out of an entire team. The Reds have been on a tear. Cincinnati was 8-27 when they acquired Harvey. Since that time their record is 40-21 (.656).

Now look, I’m not saying Harvey has been the key to the Reds’ success of late. It’d be foolish to say that. However, what I am saying is that Harvey is the Reds best pitcher right now and it’d be a shame for Cincinnati to just send him off for a minor league prospect that might not pan out. The Reds have been winning. And winning begets more winning. I think every Reds fan wants to see this team win.

Might Harvey take starts away from Robert Stephenson or Sal Romano or Tyler Mahle? Yes. Does Matt Harvey give the Reds the best chance to win those games? Yes. If you’re going to argue that Harvey is taking starts from the young pitchers, you could make the same argument about Homer Bailey.

Then let’s explore this idea; what if the Cincinnati Reds were able to retain Harvey’s services going into next season? Reds fans constantly criticize the GM, ownership, and others for not making the Reds competetive. I would argue that keeping Harvey this season and making a run at him in the offseason would be a move that most Reds fans might support.

Finally, let’s look at this angle. Now, before I even go here, let me tell you that I’m ever the optimist and I never count the Redlegs out until the numbers tell me otherwise. So, with that being said, Cincinnati is only 10 games out of the Wild Card in the National League and have been pummeling high-level competition lately.

The Reds just took a series from the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies (3-1). Cincinnati won 5 of the last 7 games against the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. They also swept a four-game series with the NL West-leading Dodgers back in May.

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Will the Reds make a postseason run? The odds are not good, but they have been playing good baseball lately. If Harvey is at all a part of the Reds’ recent success, I don’t want to give that up for a career minor league player.