Matt Harvey was once considered to be one of baseball’s elite starting pitchers, but he’ll head into the 2019 season playing for his third team in less than a year. Harvey’s stock has taken something a nosedive in recent years, due in large part to a number of injuries — including a Tommy John surgery — but also partly due to off-the-field issues.
As he heads into this season as a new member of the Los Angeles Angels pitching staff, the 29-year-old right-hander says he’s focused on getting his career back on track, and that means being better both on and off the field.
“I wouldn’t say I’m happy for the experiences I’ve gone through, but I think for the rest of my career it’ll better me as a teammate and a player,” Harvey said Wednesday, per ESPN. “It will definitely help in my workouts and performance. In between starts, it’s definitely lit a fire under my rear end and made me strive to be better.”
During his tenure with the Mets, Harvey was recognized as a socialite in the New York. He frequented the nightlife scene and gained a reputation for being a partier. Eventually, it became an issue when his commitment to baseball was put into question and relationships with teammates reportedly deteriorated. Harvey was suspended by the team in 2017 after he failed to show up for a game.
Last season, he was spotted at a party in Beverly Hills on the night before a start in San Diego. The Mets traded Harvey to the Cincinnati Reds four days later.
Harvey went on to start 24 games for the Reds, going 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 128 innings pitched. He signed a one-year deal worth $11 million with the Angels this offseason.
The pitcher’s comments about bettering himself on and off the field will come as good news for the Angels organization, and the one-year deal puts pressure on Harvey to follow through. If he wants to extend his career and continue to cash in on his talents, he’ll have to prove that it’s not just an empty promise. That Los Angeles nightlife scene sure has plenty of tempting distractions.