Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson and left-hander Jon Niese have cleared revocable waivers and are now eligible to be traded to any club, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported last week that Granderson had been placed on revocable waivers.
That the 33-year-old Granderson would clear isn’t surprising, as I mentioned following last week’s news that he was placed on waivers. He’s owed about $50MM from this point through the end of the 2017 season, making it unlikely that opposing teams would jump to add that type of money to their payroll. Still, Granderson has recovered from a woeful month of April to bat a respectable .258/.360/.447 with 14 homers in 88 games since. While he’s not looking like a 40-homer threat anymore, those numbers will play in any park, and they’re particularly impressive for a hitter that calls the spacious Citi Field his home.
It’s more surprising that Niese would clear waivers, as the 27-year-old is controlled through the 2018 season and is in the midst of his third consecutive campaign of a sub-3.75 ERA. Niese has posted a 3.41 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 48.4 percent ground-ball rate in 128 1/3 innings, and his annual salary commitments are rather modest. He’s earning $5MM in 2014 (of which roughly $1.34MM remains) plus $7MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016. His contract contains a pair of more-than-reasonable club options ($10MM in 2017 and $11MM in 2018), both of which come with a mere $500K buyout.
That the Cubs were willing to place a claim on Cole Hamels and the remaining $100MM+ on his contract but elected to pass on Niese (along with every other pitching-hungry team in the game) seems puzzling. As Heyman notes, teams may simply have felt that there was no way the Mets would trade their controllable lefty, which is probably the correct assumption. GM Sandy Alderson has shown a reluctance to move any pieces — even those which could be free agents at season’s end or in a year’s time — without receiving something significant in return. Last year, he elected to hang onto LaTroy Hawkins at the trade deadline, and this season he showed virtually no inclination to move Daniel Murphy, despite his status as free agent following the 2015 campaign.
I’d imagine the asking price on Niese to be well beyond the comfort level of nearly any interested team, but those clubs will have the remainder of the month to kick around ideas and check in with Alderson. (Of course, a club could acquire Niese in September as well, though he’d be ineligible to pitch in the postseason if acquired after Aug. 31.)
Granderson and Niese are the second pair of NL East players to reportedly clear waivers this afternoon, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that both Ian Desmond and Gio Gonzalez cleared waivers as well. All four will be added to MLBTR’s list of players that have reportedly cleared revocable waivers.