Deep Thoughts: Derek Jeter's predecessors

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Mike Vaccaro has a column today about how the presence of Derek Jeter and his presumptive multi-year deal likely contributed to the Yankees missing out on Cuban free agent Adeiny Hechevarria, who seems to have signed with the Blue Jays. Vaccaro is realistic about it — it’s not like you let 19 year-old prospects dictate what you do with your still-elite Hall of Fame shortstop — it’s just one of them things, ya know?

The column did make me think, however, about the position for the Bombers. Specifically, I tried to think of who, exactly, was manning shortstop before Jeter took over full time in 1996. I recalled Tony Fernandez had the position in 1995, but before that it was a total blank.  I held out as long as a I could before consulting Baseball-Reference.com, but ultimately I couldn’t get past Fernandez.

Anyway, just for “oh wow” sake, here is the list of the guys who manned shortstop for the Yankees between the Bucky Dent and Derek Jeter eras, in reverse chronological order: Fernandez, Mike Gallego, Spike Owen, Andy Stankiewicz, Alvaro Espinoza — who actually held the job for three years! — Rafael Santana, Wayne Tolleson, Bob Meacham, Roy Smalley and then back to Dent.

There are new prospects every year. Anchors at shortstop are pretty damn rare.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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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.