PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Matt Harvey seemingly left the door open to signing a contract extension with the Mets. Of course, that’s far different from actually clearing some of the hurdles that stand in the way.
Nevertheless, shortly after his arrival at the team’s spring training complex Monday, he did not rule out entertaining such a deal.
“I think whatever comes up is going to come up,” Harvey said. “I think I’ve never shied away from it. I’ve never said I wouldn’t consider it.”
Harvey will be a free agent after the 2018 season. He’s represented by Scott Boras, whose clients typically have tested the open market as soon as possible. But there have been exceptions, including Jered Weaver (Angels), Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) and Elvis Andrus (Rangers).
Boras said Monday that there is no reason to dismiss a potential contract extension for Harvey before knowing what is being offered.
“Expectations of an extension are like dinner invitations,” Boras told ESPN.com. “They are always politely considered until you know the restaurant.”
Harvey said he has heard nothing regarding an extension. However, spring training is typically the time that teams and players enter into such discussions.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson recently did not rule out having such talks this spring.
Harvey, 26, went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA last season, his first back from Tommy John surgery. Counting the playoffs, he logged 216 innings despite plenty of hand-wringing about his workload. It was the first time in Harvey’s career that he pitched at least 200 innings.
“It feels great,” said Harvey, who arrived here a few days before the start of workouts. “We did everything we possibly could to manage going into the season. I felt great going into last year. But obviously this year, it’s nice knowing that [I had] a full season. Going into a fresh season, it’s nice, it feels great.”
The Mets have assembled the best starting rotation in baseball. Keeping the dynamic group intact has emerged as the most critical off-field issue facing the Mets, with Harvey first in line to hit free agency.
The rotation has drawn comparisons to the Braves staffs that were anchored by Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. “That’s the one that you think of,” Harvey said of the comparisons. “I don’t think our golf game is quite as good as those guys . . . We’re not trying to compare to anybody else, but we’re excited to be where we are.”
High expectations will hover above the Mets as they trickle into town. The defending National League champions return most of the key players from the team that reached the World Series.
“We definitely have a lot of confidence,” Harvey said. “The expectations, if you turn them the right way, should be confidence toward us.”
In Harvey’s case, those expectations may loom even larger, with some pitchers seeing a bump in performance in their second year back from surgery.
“Obviously, you don’t have a crystal ball and can’t really predict what the ERA and all of those things look like,” Harvey said. “But my body feels great. My arm feels great. I think all of us, as a staff and as a whole organization, feel great about this year.”
In Game 5 of the World Series last November, Harvey talked manager Terry Collins into letting him start the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead against the Royals, who rallied to tie it before eventually winning the game and the world championship in the 12th.
Harvey said he’s moved past that bitter end.
“It’s something that motivates you and drives you going into the next year,” he said. “Instead of dwelling on what happened and trying to change something that you can’t, I think you use that as motivation toward the offseason, toward getting your body ready, toward getting your mind ready toward the long season and getting back to where you want to be.”
Upping the ante
If the Mets eventually sign Matt Harvey to a long-term deal, it will be for far more money than he earned in his first four contracts:
2016: $4.325 million
Plus performance bonus of $25,000 for 200 innings pitched and award bonus of $25,000 for Cy Young.
Included performance bonuses of $10,000 for 2013 All-Star selection and $50,000 for fourth place in 2013 Cy Young vote.