Brandon McCarthy “scouted heavily” by at least six teams

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Once upon a time Brandon McCarthy was considered a top pitching prospect and in December of 2006 the White Sox traded him to the Rangers for John Danks and Nick Masset.

That trade didn’t exactly work out well for Texas, in part because of Danks’ emergence as one of the league’s best southpaws and in part because McCarthy’s career has been wrecked by injuries.

He didn’t pitch in the majors at all this season and was limited to just 56 innings at Triple-A because of a stress fracture in his shoulder, but McCarthy pitched well in the minors when healthy, has a 1.96 ERA in four Dominican winter league starts, and is still just 27 years old despite seemingly being around (and more often than not on the disabled list) forever.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that McCarthy “has been scouted heavily in recent weeks” by a number of teams, including the Astros, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Tigers, and A’s. Even setting aside his injury history McCarthy often struggled in Texas and Chicago because he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher and both of those ballparks boost power hitting. San Diego, Seattle, and Oakland would be good fits for him in terms of limiting his weaknesses.

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.