A person close to Alex Rodriguez told Bob Nightengale of USATODAY that the disgraced slugger has a standing offer from MLB to have his suspension reduced from 211 games to 150 if he foregoes his appeal.
The source told Nightengale that MLB originally offered a 100-game ban before announcing the 211-game suspension, but that the compromise was upped to 150 games once the announcement was made.
MLB denied the report to Nightengale: “We have not offered 100 games and no offer is on the table,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports.
If this is true, it suggests Rodriguez and the league would still have some room to maneuver should Rodriguez aim for a resolution. Something like 125 games, if accepted soon, would allow him to return right around the All-Star break next year. Rodriguez, though, may like his chances of ending up with a lesser suspension through the arbitration process.
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.