Reds GM Walt Jocketty says Sean Marshall “a possibility” to close

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The Reds held a conference call earlier this afternoon to introduce Sean Marshall, who was acquired from the Cubs for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

Marshall has primarily pitched in a set-up role over the past two seasons, but Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty didn’t dismiss the possibility that the southpaw could take over ninth-inning duties next season.

“It’s a possibility,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We’re still talking with (Francisco) Cordero. If we don’t sign him or acquire a closer, we have several guys who we feel can go to that role and Sean would certainly be one of them.”

The Reds declined Cordero’s $12 million option for 2012 in late-October. The Red Sox have reportedly backed off the 36-year-old right-hander due to his desire for a multi-year contract and declining strikeout rate in 2011, so he’s running out of potential destinations to close. The Reds would receive a supplemental first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft if he signs elsewhere.

Marshall is set to become a free agent himself next offseason, but Jocketty indicated that they are going to make every effort to sign him to an extension.

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.