In the most ideal of worlds, the Mets will have Matt Harvey pitching in October next season. But for that to happen, the recuperating ace will have to be reined in and potentially even miss some starts, Terry Collins said Thursday.
And no, the manager doesn't expect him to be happy about it.
"We have no set number [of innings] to put on Matt, but certainly we might skip him here and there once in a while, just to save him,'' Collins said after helping sort food at The River Fund food pantry in Richmond Hill.
"That will all be explained to him and there'll be arguments and he'll throw a tantrum in the office, but it's all part of the job because he wants to pitch and he wants to win.''
Harvey missed all of 2014 coming back from Tommy John surgery. He has been the picture of impatience during his rehab, and Collins said he doesn't expect much to change come January.
Collins acknowledges that 2015 is a make-or-break year for the Mets, but they will have to be fairly cautious with the hard-throwing righthander, who was 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 1781/3 innings in 26 starts in 2013.
Earlier this week at the general managers' meetings in Phoenix, Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, and general manager Sandy Alderson said the sides had not had any discussions about how to manage the pitcher's workload in 2015.
Alderson said putting together a game plan will be "a joint effort.''
"He's dying to get on the mound,'' Collins said. "He'll be down in Florida in January . . . You know him. The first bullpen, there's going to be 30 [reporters] standing around, TV cameras -- 'Matt, you don't need to throw 100 here. It's about getting in shape.'
"We'll have to rein him in on a daily basis. I know he's really excited because he feels great.''
From the earliest days after Harvey's injury in August 2013, he and the Mets have gone back and forth on how to proceed. Harvey initially insisted on trying rehab before eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery. Then tensions arose, with Harvey pushing for a more aggressive approach while the Mets preferred to be cautious.
Collins stressed the need to have his team at full force for October baseball -- gutsy talk for a club that hasn't made the playoffs in eight years. He said having Harvey back means that goal is even more urgent.
"We have to,'' he said. "That's what we're playing for . . . We get a No. 1 starting pitcher back. It's time to perform.''
GM not eager to deal Murphy.Although Daniel Murphy has been linked to trade rumors during the past year, Alderson said he will be reluctant to deal the All-Star second baseman.
Alderson also said talks about a contract extension are unlikely to happen in the near future. Murphy is eligible for arbitration for the final time before becoming a free agent. He is projected to make roughly $8 million next season.
Notes & quotes:Alderson said he would hesitate to trade any of the Mets' power arms in the bullpen, which emerged as a strength . . . Bobby Parnell's rehab from Tommy John surgery likely will prevent him from starting the season with the Mets . . . David Wright is on track to begin baseball activities next month and almost certainly has done enough in rehab to sidestep the possibility of shoulder surgery . . . Collins believes the Mets must pursue another lefty in the bullpen to share the workload with Josh Edgin. Said Collins: "Otherwise, we'll kill Josh.'' . . . The Mets signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor-league contract.