Cincinnati Reds still won the Matt Harvey trade despite not moving him

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 24: Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 24, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 24: Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 24, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers claimed Matt Harvey off of trade waivers Thursday, but the Cincinnati Reds were unable to deal him. On the surface, it seems like a letdown, but the Reds still won when they traded for Harvey earlier this season.

The Cincinnati Reds had until 1:30 on Friday to trade Matt Harvey. For one reason or another, he made his start 35 minutes later. Harvey will be a Red for the remainder of 2018. This was an interesting move, considering the whole purpose of getting Harvey was to flip him later in the season. However, the Reds still came out on top in this trade.

Devin Mesoraco’s value was next to nothing when he was traded. The 30-year-old has looked like a shell of his old self recently, going from an All-Star in 2014 to a backup catcher three seasons later.

The power he once had was all but lost due to injuries. He had 271 at-bats between 2015-17 and played in 23, 16, and 56 games respectively those years. It didn’t help that he was owed $13 million this year.

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Luckily, the only team more desperate than the Reds might’ve been the New York Mets. On May 8th, the Reds traded Mesoraco to New York for Matt Harvey, with both teams retaining the existing contracts.

Although the Reds were paying Mesoraco to play for another team, there wasn’t really any other choice. They had two options: pay Mesoraco to play for the Mets and have Harvey start every fifth day, or pay Mesoraco to be a backup catcher.

There isn’t a team in baseball that would be willing to pay $13 million for a .200 hitting injury prone catcher that is a free agent at the end of the year. The Reds are lucky that they were able to deal him at all. According to Fangraphs, Mesoraco is worth 0.5 WAR this season, and Harvey is worth 0.9 WAR. Based off of this one stat, the Reds won the trade, even without dealing him again.

The acquisition of Curt Casali was another effect of the trade.

After dealing their backup catcher, the Reds needed someone to fill the role. Since acquiring him from the Tampa Bay Rays, Casali is having a career year. With the Reds, he’s slashing .321/.406/.500 in 97 plate appearances. His 0.8 WAR is just behind Tucker Barnhart’s 1.0 WAR, and he’s played in 76 fewer games.

Casali is under team control until 2022, meaning he has the chance to be a valuable asset to the team in upcoming years. He is a nice bat on the roster that’s ready whenever he’s needed.

The Reds needed to trade Harvey, but they didn’t. And that’s okay.

The worst case scenario was that Harvey still pitches terribly and we had to keep him for the rest of an already lost season. The best case scenario was that Harvey uses his change of scenery to turn into a Cy Young candidate. Neither of those happened, and the Reds were left with a pitcher with a 4.28 ERA. Good enough for best in the rotation, but not something every contender is dying to trade for.

The odds of flipping him were low, and the odds of getting a good prospect were even lower. Harvey staying on the team was bound to happen, but it was the outcome no one wanted.

Not getting anything for Harvey is not the end of the world. He will make only five or six more starts this year that may or may not have gone to younger pitchers. Robert Stephenson is already in the rotation, the team has shown little interest in starting Cody Reed, and Tyler Mahle and Brandon Finnegan are working on improving in Louisville.

Next. There's no way Harvey starts, right?

It would be nice to see a younger guy pitch, but missing five starts isn’t terrible. Fans can be angry that Harvey wasn’t traded, but it’s hard to deny that the original trade wasn’t positive.