Sanchez and Wilson get an offer

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There’s been a lot of talk about the Pirates trading Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, but a new wrinkle has emerged:

The Pirates have approached shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman
Freddy Sanchez about multiyear contract extensions, putting on hold,
for now, the possibility that either will be traded by Major League
Baseball’s July 31 deadline. But the clock is ticking. If the parties
are to agree on extensions, they will need to do so far enough in
advance of the deadline so that, if the Pirates decide no agreement is
possible, they still can pursue a trade for one or both. That likely
means something must get done within the next week to 10 days.

Despite all of the drama surrounding recent Pirates’ trades,
I can’t recall an instance of Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington playing games
with players. Still, it strikes me as odd that contract offers are
coming so late in the game and close to the deadline, leaving little
time for negotiation. If it were any other GM I’d wonder whether this
wasn’t a PR move on the part of the team designed to lessen fan — and
player — ire when two popular players are ultimately moved.

For what it’s worth, both Sanchez and Wilson are playing fantastic
defense this year, really enjoy playing in Pittsburgh and, based on
this article and everything else I’ve seen, have no desire to break the
bank. Against that backdrop, it would make sense to keep them around,
both as a stability move and because it will give the fans something to be happy about in Pittsburgh.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
AP Images
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.