I’ve been thinking a lot about non-Jeters who we may not see again after this season. Konerko is obviously retiring. Ichiro may be done. Hiroki Kuroda. A.J. Burnett. Josh Beckett. Adam Dunn has suggested he may hang it up. But some less famous players may too, one of which is Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle.
I’ve paid closer attention to Carlyle than a lot of people have over the course of his career simply because he played for my team for a couple of years. When that happens you notice the name in the mass of late winter minor league signings more than you do guys who didn’t play for your team. But it’s not like I obsesses on him or anything. I saw him pitch once or twice this year, but didn’t realize until I just read Mike Vorkunov’s story about him over at NJ.com. Carlyle has posted a 1.53 ERA in 26 games. That’s his best mark ever. Still, he may retire after this year because he realizes that he’s almost 37 and someone will end his career for him eventually if he doesn’t decide to do it himself.
But it’s a neat story anyway. I’m sure a lot of guys have minor league-heavy odysseys like Carlyle has had. And so many of them are interesting. They could all be stories by themselves, even if we rarely notice them.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.