Angels sign Matt Harvey to bolster thin starting rotation

Matt Harvey is on the move again, this time in free agency.

The veteran right-hander has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Tuesday night.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan says it’s a one-year deal that could be worth up to $14 million.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports Harvey’s base salary will be $11 million.

That’s a pretty good number for Harvey considering he hasn’t been the most consistent or reliable hurler of late. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 4.94 ERA over 155 innings split between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds in 2018.

Why the Angels signed Matt Harvey

The contract probably speaks more to how badly the Angels need pitching. With Garrett Richards gone, and both Shohei Ohtani and J.C. Ramirez sidelined from pitching in 2019 by Tommy John surgery, the Angels needed to add some innings this winter.

Los Angeles’ in-house options include Matt Shoemaker and Nick Tropeano, both of whom missed time with injuries last season, along with Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs. The latter two should be locked into the rotation barring injury. 

Beyond that the Angels’ options are mostly young and unproven. Jaime Barria, Felix Pena and Dillon Peters all fit that bill. Each is expected to be in competition for a rotation spot this spring. 

The Angels posted a 4.34 ERA among their starters last season, ranking 19th in MLB.

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Remaining MLB free agents: 2018-19
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Remaining MLB free agents: 2018-19

RF Bryce Harper

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

SS Manny Machado

(Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

SP Dallas Keuchel

(Photo by Loren Elliott/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

RP Craig Kimbrel

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C Yasmani Grandal

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C Wilson Ramos

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

C Kurt Suzuki

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

C Martin Maldonado

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

C Jonathan Lucroy

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

C Brian McCann

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

1B Hanley Ramirez

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2B Jed Lowrie

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2B Asdrubal Cabrera

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2B DJ LeMahieu

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

2B Brian Dozier

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

2B Daniel Murphy

(AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

3B Mike Moustakas

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

SS Jose Iglesias

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LF Marwin Gonzalez

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

LF Denard Span

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

CF Adam Jones

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

RF Andrew McCutchen

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RF Nick Markakis

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DH Nelson Cruz

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SP Charlie Morton

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SP Anibal Sanchez

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SP Bartolo Colon

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RP Adam Ottavino

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RP David Robertson

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RP Andrew Miller

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Matt Harvey’s tumultuous 2018

Harvey seemingly spent the entire 2018 season on the trading block, and that’s even after being traded once.

Harvey’s tumultuous tenure with the New York Mets came to a dramatic end on May 8, when New York abruptly traded him to Cincinnati following a series of disagreements and disruptions. Harvey reportedly balked at being demoted to the bullpen, then bottomed out by allowing seven runs in four relief appearances.

Harvey’s performance didn’t justify the headache for New York. For the Reds, the buy-low created a sell-high opportunity that they never cashed in on. Harvey made 24 starts for Cincinnati, posting a 4.50 ERA.

Most importantly, Harvey looked healthy in a Reds uniform. At times there were even flashes of the Matt Harvey that exploded on to the scene with a 2.53 ERA over his first 65 career starts. His average fastball velocity rose from 92.6 mph to 94.4 mph with Cincinnati, and his swinging-strike rate improved from 8.2 percent to 9.9 percent. 

Both are encouraging signs for the Angels.

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Matt Harvey with the New York Mets
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Matt Harvey with the New York Mets
ATLANTA, GA April 19: New York starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) looks on from the dugout during a game between Atlanta and New York on April 19, 2018 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 22, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Rockies defeated the Mets 5-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on April 19, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Nationals 7-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 pitches the first inning with a bloody nose in MLB action against the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field. (Photo By: Mark Bonifacio/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Detroit Tigers at Citi Field on August 24, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Mets 3-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Matt Harvey and Anne V attend the Washington Wizards vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets looks on before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 13, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Yankees 12-7. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets throws a pitch to a Washington Nationals batter in the fourth inning during a baseball game at Nationals Park on April 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on May 23, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Daily News back page August 22, 2015, Headline: Harvey won't make scheduled start Sunday as innings limit looms SKIP HAPPENS - Matt Harvey says he's OK with being skipped Sunday in effort to limit his workload so he can pitch down the stretch in September.(Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets in action against the Chicago Cubs during game one of the 2015 MLB National League Championship Series at Citi Field on October 17, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
01 NOV 2015: New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) during Game 5 of the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals played at Citi Field in Flushing,NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 04: Pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets walks off the field against the Miami Marlins after the second inning during a game at Citi Field on July 4, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 09: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 9, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 6: Matt Harvey attends the Tom Ford Men's - Arrivals - February 2018 - New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: Starting pitcher Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park on April 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 09: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets looks on in the dugout against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Injury history

The veteran right-hander has had his share of injuries too. He had Tommy John surgery following the 2013 season, which cost him the entire 2014 season and some early starts in 2015.

In 2016, Harvey required surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome between his neck and pitching shoulder. This past season marked only the third time Harvey made more than 20 starts in a season since debuting in 2012. 

The injury history isn’t great, but given Harvey’s track record and age — 30 in March — he seems like a good guy for a pitching-needy team to gamble on.

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