Winning bid for righty Yu Darvish will set posting record

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From Franz Lidz of Sports Illustrated comes word that the winning posting bid for Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish will top the $51,111,111 sum that the Red Sox paid for exclusive negotiating rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka back in November of 2006.

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters have not revealed which major league team made the record bid, and aren’t expected to do so until Tuesday.

Indications are that only the Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers and Cubs tried for the 25-year-old starter. And there was a report in the New York Post earlier this week claiming Toronto as the winner. But none of that information has been confirmed by any of the involved parties.

Darvish registered a fantastic 18-7 record, 1.44 ERA and 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings this past year for the Fighters. He had a 1.99 career ERA over seven total seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball.

Including the posting bid, his total cost will easily top $100 million and might even approach $150 million.

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.