Mets designate Matt Harvey for assignment after he rejects demotion to minors

The New York Mets have designated Matt Harvey for assignment after he refused to accept a minor-league assignment on the grounds of his service time.

Harvey, 29, will now go through the waivers process before being traded or, presumably, released. In eight appearances this season (four of them starts) he allowed 33 hits and 21 runs (7.00 ERA) across 27 innings. The final appearance in his Mets career saw him permit three hits and five runs in two innings against the Atlanta Braves. He recorded one strikeout and walked three.

Harvey's career with the Mets was a bittersweet one. In his first 36 big-league starts, spanning the 2012-13 seasons, he posted a 2.39 ERA and earned the nickname "The Dark Knight." His power arsenal seemed certain to promise a future honeycombed with Cy Young Awards and All-Star Game appearances.

Alas, the peak of Harvey's popularity and effectiveness would come sooner rather than later. He underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2013, costing him the entire 2014 season. Harvey returned in 2015, throwing a career-best 189 innings and making four postseason starts (three of them recorded as quality) for the World Series-bound Mets.

That's when Harvey's career began its nosedive. He started just 17 times in 2016, and underwent an operation to alleviate his thoracic outlet syndrome -- a condition known to derail many a pitcher's career. Sure enough, Harvey was never the same. Over the last two seasons, he's put forth a 6.77 ERA and struck out just over a batter per walk issued. Even a move to the bullpen earlier in the year didn't reveal much promise.

Take the decline and add in Harvey's presence in the New York tabloids -- be it for missing a game or, most recently, being spotted partying in Los Angeles -- and his image as an underachiever is complete. There's no telling how much of what befell Harvey was outside of his control, however, and it's certainly possible that the thoracic outlet operation is what did him in more so than any amount of late nights.

That Harvey won't turn 30 until next March is astounding -- that his pending dismissal could threaten his date with free agency is, too. It's hard to think of many players who experienced these kinds of highs and lows within such a limited time. Harvey, then, in some ways, feels like a character crafted by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Consider that fitting since, now that Harvey's Mets career is over, we'll see if he gets to write a successful act away from the New York spotlight. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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