If “number of scouts watching a guy play” is any indication of the seriousness of his team to trade him, consider Cole Hamels out the door already. From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
There were so many scouts behind the backstop at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon that you could have built a campfire and made smores.
Oh, wrong kind of scouts.
These were baseball scouts, you know, the kind with straw hats, stop watches, radar guns, and questionable wardrobes. All the relevant chapters were present: Texas, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco, the Dodgers and Angels. There were more than that, in fact.
All of the teams present make sense except for maybe the Giants who don’t need pitching as bad as hitting, but the sheer number of scouts impressed a lot of people who cover the Phillies every day, so it was clearly unusual. Not that wanting Hamels would be unusual for anyone, but still.
Biggest takeaway from this: next time you’re at the ballgame, look for the straw hats and questionable wardrobes, because Salisbury is dead on with that. I’d add “polo shirt tucked in to dockers,” but that may be included in the “questionable wardrobe” part. The radar guns are a giveaway, but they don’t all hold guns, so this is useful for scout spotting.
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.