Please stop the Juan Pierre-to-the-Reds ridiculousness

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So, yeah, there seems to be a legitimate chance this is going to happen. But the Reds don’t need a leadoff hitter, and they certainly don’t need Juan Pierre.

For starters, they have a perfectly good leadoff hitter, if only they’d use him there. Drew Stubbs strikes out a whole lot and has a disappointing OBP this year, but when he bats at the top of the order, he scores runs, which is the name of the game.

Here’s some NL leadoff hitters and their career runs scored per game from the leadoff spot:

.738 – Rickie Weeks – 440 R in 596 G
.715 – Rafael Furcal – 986 R in 1,379 G
.714 – Stubbs – 130 R in 182 G
.702 – Jimmy Rollins – 927 R in 1,321 G
.694 – Jose Reyes – 722 R in 1,040 G
.665 – Dexter Fowler – 177 R in 266 G
.616 – Michael Bourn – 357 R in 580 G
.601 – Pierre – 827 R in 1,377 G

As the list shows, it’s a lot easier to score runs when you drive yourself in once in a while.

While Pierre might be of some use to the Reds as a fifth outfielder, it’s doubtful the team would use him that way if he was picked up. Instead, he’s start playing a lot of left field over a guy who has 17 homers in Ryan Ludwick. And while Pierre still has some pretty good overall numbers himself with a .306 average, .346 OBP and 23 steals, most of his production came early on; he’s getting on base at about a .320 clip for the last 2 1/2 months. He’d likely make the offense worse every time he’s penciled in.

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.