UPDATE: I guess I jumped the gun earlier when I said that the Manny-to-the-White Sox thing was a done deal as a straight waiver claim, because it’s only within the last few minutes that all of the reputable reporters are saying it’s confirmed. Maybe I dreamed it all.
Also, Nightengale has now backtracked from his earlier report: Manny was waiting for the deal to be finalized before leaving for Cleveland. He will still join the team sometime tonight, but won’t make it in time to be in the lineup.
11:03 A.M.: Bob Nightengale just tweeted that Manny Ramirez is en route to Cleveland as we speak and thus should be in the lineup for tonight’s White Sox-Indians matchup.
It will be cute to see national writers try to jam in some “Manny-returns-to-Cleveland” angle to this. Indians fans really don’t care much about him anymore. He left there after the 2000 season, for crying out loud. That’s ancient history for Indians fans. Sandy Alomar, Chuck Finley, Charles Nagy and David Justice played on that team. It was, like, 110 Manny-years ago.
By the way, it’s been confirmed that the transaction to send Ramirez to Chicago was a straight waiver claim deal with nothing going back to Los Angeles other than the salary relief Manny’s one month and change away from the team will bring.
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.