The Mets wanted to keep Matt Harvey out of New York to rehab his surgically repaired elbow, and as time moves forward we are going to see how insignificant that is compared to the huge issue surrounding their ace:

Can they keep him in New York? More specifically, in Queens?

We certainly can dismiss this as a story for another day, because Harvey cannot be a free agent until after the 2018 season, and so much can happen between now and then. Harvey could succumb to what feels like an epidemic these days — young pitchers needing a second Tommy John surgery, which would curtail his market. Someone else could own the Mets by then. This winter actually never could end in New York, eliminating the possibility of playing future baseball seasons.

But a few incidents of late have brought the ticking clock into clearer view. The two sides could pooh-pooh it now, but there was tension in the Harvey-Mets management talks about whether the right-hander would rehab in St. Lucie, just like there was last year about some of Harvey’s off-field endeavors.

Scott Boras clients — particularly the stars — almost always test free agency and let the market dictate their pay. If we needed more evidence, Max Scherzer rejected $144 million from the Tigers and will play out his walk year.

Payroll information for 2014 has become more public, and the Mets are going to rank 22nd in the majors at just north of $89 million. Perhaps that is a proper range for a rebuilding team, even a rebuilding one in a big market — heck, it is almost a deadlock with the Cubs, as an example. Maybe we can believe the payroll reflects an ownership with financial difficulties and that a far different picture will exist in 2018.

There are points to be made that spending hugely is not a direct correlation to winning; check that the plummeting Phillies project to the third-highest payroll in the majors. But you also notice the Mets are likely to have 12 of their 25 players making less than $1 million this year, while, for example, the Giants will have 12 players making $5 million or more. The Mets have five players making $5 million or more, the same number as the A’s, one fewer than the Brewers and Padres.