It’s been suspected all offseason that the Mets would shop second baseman Daniel Murphy and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that they are pushing “very hard” to move him at this week’s Winter Meetings.
Nothing appears imminent, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Orioles are among the teams who have looked into acquiring Murphy. They also have some interest in Murphy’s teammate Ike Davis, but Sherman sees the Brewers or Rays as better fits for the first baseman.
Murphy, who turns 29 in April, earned $2.925 million this past season while batting .286/.319/.415 with 13 home runs, 78 RBI, 23 stolen bases over 161 games. He’s expected to get a hefty raise in his second year of arbitration, so the Mets could move him and use the savings to upgrade elsewhere. Eric Young, Jr. would be the most likely option to take over the second base job if Murphy is dealt.
UPDATE: Marc Carig of New York Newsday hears that the Mets aren’t “pushing” to move Murphy, but are open to listening. Meanwhile, Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM was told by a source that conversations between the Mets and Orioles are being “way overblown.” Such is life at the Winter Meetings.
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.