- A.J. Burnett May Miss Rest Of Season
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The Rockies will promote top pitching prospect Jon Gray to the majors on Tuesday, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (Twitter link). Gray will make his Major League debut that evening in a start against the Mariners at Coors Field.
Ian Kennedy‘s deadline day experience was already stressful enough given the number of rumors swirling around his future with the Padres, but the righty’s day was even more hectic since it marked the birth of his fourth daughter. As he related to reporters (including Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune), Kennedy was originally supposed to go on the paternity list to be present for the birth, but a grounded flight in Miami meant that Kennedy decided to make his scheduled start against the Marlins that night. He wound up pitching well in the Padres’ extra-innings win, allowing two runs in seven innings. Kennedy spent his time on his would-be flight “texting with his wife and periodically checking MLBTradeRumors.com,” so if Kennedy is reading this, thanks for making us part of your big day…and congratulations on your family’s new addition!
Here’s some more from around the NL West…
- The Padres‘ quiet deadline drew some varied reaction around the league, and in another piece from Dennis Lin, he hears from rival officials that the Friars had huge asking prices despite allegedly being in “sell mode.” Some deals seemed close at times, though the Padres then countered with offers that the other team didn’t want to match.
- GM A.J. Preller told reporters (including MLB.com’s Corey Brock) that he doesn’t mind criticism about his team’s lack of notable moves, and that “ultimately we didn’t see value for the moves we wanted to be made at that time.” Preller hinted that the team could be active in the August waiver trade period, and Brock writes that the Padres are expected to keep looking for a shortstop.
- Mike Leake was a perfect deadline acquisition for the Giants, Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) writes. The deal not only makes them a win or so better for the regular season, but Leake could potentially pay big dividends in the playoffs. All in all, Law feels that the market undervalued Leake’s impressive skill set.
- Leake, for his part, thought he was getting traded to the AL East and not San Francisco, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets.
- Troy Tulowitzki‘s final season with the Rockies and the sequence of events that led to his trade to the Blue Jays is chronicled by Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
The Rockies have designated reliever Aaron Laffey for assignment, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The transaction was part of a series of moves that allowed the club to recall Christian Bergman, Scott Oberg, and Kyle Parker. Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Corey Dickerson were placed on the disabled list. The Rockies also designated Laffey on July 11, but he ultimately remained with the team.
The 30-year-old lefty has spent most of the season at the Triple-A level where he’s compiled a 4.78 ERA, 5.86 K/9, and 4.01 BB/9 in 58 innings. He’s tossed just seven and one-third innings in three relief appearances in the majors this year. Laffey checks in around 87 mph. He’s thrown 494 innings over his career with a 4.44 ERA, 4.46 K/9, and 3.62 BB/9.
The blockbuster trade sending start shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies to the Blue Jays is now official. He’s officially heading to Toronto along with veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins. In return, the Rockies will pick up the rest of the contract of Jose Reyes (saving about $50MM against Tulo’s deal) and add three quality right-handed pitching prospects (Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco).
Here are the some of the many reactions to the overnight deal, along with the latest notes from the teams involved:
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ persistent approach paid off in the end, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. According to Rosenthal, Anthopoulos first contacted Rockies GM Jeff Bridich about the possibility of acquiring Tulowitzki this winter, but Bridich wasn’t interested in taking on Reyes as part of the return. The same held true in May, but there was a bit of traction in early July, and business picked up quickly on Monday night. (Rosenthal adds that Anthopoulos took the same dogged approach with A’s GM Billy Beane in offseason talks for Josh Donaldson.)
- After being promised that he’d be consulted prior to any trade, Tulowitzki instead found out when manager Walt Weiss, with tears in his eyes, pulled the franchise cornerstone from the game in the ninth inning on Monday, reports Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. The Rockies, Passan continues, asked that Tulo not publicly demand a trade so as not to weaken their stance in discussions, and he obliged. Both Passan and Rosenthal note that Tulowitzki is not pleased with the manner in which his exit from Colorado was handled. Notably, Passan writes that the Rockies’ young players have said to one another since the trade that owner Dick Monfort should have flown into Chicago to inform Tulowitzki in person. This type of ugly exit sets a bad precedent with remaining stars around whom the Rockies want to build (e.g. Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickerson), Passan opines.
- As for Arenado, he expressed some dismay at the situation to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “I don’t know any of these dudes we got,” Arenado said. “But I think if we were going to trade Tulo, I would think it would be for an ace, an established veteran pitcher. Obviously we are starting to rebuild from the ground up.” (To be fair, it seems that Arenado was referring to the prospect pitching that came back in the deal, not the veteran Reyes.)
- Rosenthal adds that the Blue Jays are still intent on adding starting pitching, and he speculatively wonders if the addition of Tulowitzki’s imposing bat will make it easier for the Blue Jays to part with Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion to make that happen. But reports have indicated that won’t occur, and GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed in his press conference that the team does not intend to move its big league bats to add arms (via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, on Twitter). In Passan’s piece above, he notes that the team will be active on the pitching front but deal from its prospect depth instead of its big league roster.
- The team does, however, intend to remain active on the market for relievers and, especially, starters. Anthopoulos said he hopes to make staff additions over the next few days, as Sportsnet’s Arash Madani tweets.
- Coming out of this deal, the Jays could look to add another option in left field, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. He also cites a report from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun regarding the failure of Toronto’s recent attempt to pry Carlos Carrasco away from the Indians. Hoffman would have been a part of that deal, along with highly-regarded prospects Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey, which could explain in part how things worked out. (It’s also an indication of what kind of price Carrasco could command.)
- Looking ahead, Anthopoulos says that the Blue Jays see Tulowitzki as a future piece for the club, as Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports on Twitter. “We would have taken Tulowitzki in the offseason, we just couldn’t get a deal done,” said the Toronto GM. “This is not a July deal.”
- Several rival executives believe the Rockies will keep Reyes with hopes that he’ll regain some value over the second half, Passan tweets. Certainly, playing at Coors Field promises to boost his batting line, though injuries have long been an issue for the Rockies. The strategy certainly does make some sense at first glance, though, as the team may not be prepared to hand the everyday job to prospect Trevor Story and Reyes could find a much wider market over the winter. I’d also add that he could factor as an August trade piece in the event that a contender has a need arise.
- The Cardinals talked with the Rockies about Tulowitzki before he was moved, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morosi notes that Tulowitzki is close with outfielder Matt Holliday, so that might have been a good fit for the shortstop.
- The Rockies and Cardinals have discussed Tulo in the past, but a deal never came together because the asking price was “absurd,” one source tells Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch. Various sources have indicated that the Rockies sought a package that included, at times, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams — and possibly all three. That was too much for the Cardinals, who also made it clear that Michael Wacha was not going to be in such a deal.
- The Yankees, meanwhile, were never even engaged by the Rockies before the deal was struck, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. While New York had long seemed a plausible destination, we also heard earlier today that the Mets passed on an opportunity to get involved.
- It was notable, of course, that the Jays made this big of a splash to add a position player, but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs argues that the team’s desire to add pitching shouldn’t preclude it from upgrading in any way possible. Bolstering the team’s lineup (as well as its defense) still adds runs to the ledger, and Cameron suggests that Toronto may well be correct in assessing that it made more sense to utilize its young arms in this deal than to move them for a rental arm (or, perhaps, a somewhat less productive and/or risky controllable starter). It’s a lengthy and detailed piece — all the more impressive since Cameron pulled it together not long after the deal went down — and is well worth a full read.
- Obviously, Toronto did give up real value to bring in one of the game’s biggest stars. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs breaks down the three hurlers involved in the swap. He explains that Jeff Hoffman still has plenty of upside, but appears to have dialed back the aggressiveness in his delivery since his return from Tommy John surgery. Miguel Castro, meanwhile, has a live arm but needs significant refinement. And Jesus Tinoco fits roughly the same profile, delivering ample tools to dream on but figuring as a possible future pen arm if he does not develop as hoped.
- For ESPN.com’s Keith Law, despite the promise of the departing arms, the deal represents a win for the Jays given that they did not have to part with either Norris or Aaron Sanchez. He sees Hoffman more as a future mid-rotation starter than a top-line arm, with Castro looking like a strong future reliever and Tinoco a back-end rotation piece.
Full Story | 22 Comments | Categories: Aaron Sanchez | Carlos Carrasco | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Dalton Pompey | Daniel Norris | Edwin Encarnacion | Jeff Hoffman | Jose Bautista | Jose Reyes | LaTroy Hawkins | Miguel Castro | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Nolan Arenado | St. Louis Cardinals | Toronto Blue Jays | Trevor Rosenthal | Troy Tulowitzki
2:56pm: Colorado may be more inclined to deal CarGo after the season, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). With his recent turnaround, the Rockies’ asking price will likely be too high for contenders to meet. The club could, then, hope that continued production and health will lead an interested trade partner to line up over the winter.
12:58pm: Gonzalez hasn’t been a “point of emphasis” for the Angels, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets, though he notes that the market continues to shift. Los Angeles is looking more for “incremental” improvements in left field.
The club’s addition of Shane Victorino yesterday seemingly put one half of a platoon in place. While the left-handed-hitting Matt Joyce theoretically could make up the other side of that equation, he’s struggled badly this year and it seems that the Halos are still interested in another option.
8:36am: After agreeing to deal franchise icon Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies plan to shop fellow star Carlos Gonzalez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. “They expect to move him,” a rival GM tells Heyman.
[RELATED: Trade Market For Corner Outfielders]
That isn’t exactly surprising to hear after last night’s Tulo agreement, but it’s nevertheless notable to see CarGo set to hit the block. While he had not looked himself since the start of last season, Gonzalez has steadily improved all year and has been on fire of late.
It remains somewhat unclear what kind of market he’ll have, particularly given his recent injury and performance concerns. Gonzalez is earning a $16MM salary this year and $37MM in total over the next two. That’s a bargain if he’s a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat, and hardly an unworkable sum for most teams, but there’s still plenty of risk. Heyman notes that clubs such as the Mets, Angels, and Orioles all line up as theoretical fits for Gonzalez.
Blue Jays Acquire Troy Tulowitzki, LaTroy Hawkins From Rockies For Jose Reyes And Pitching Prospects
The Blue Jays have officially struck a stunning deal to acquire Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins in exchange for Jose Reyes and a trio of minor league pitchers. Promising young righties Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco make up the key components of Colorado’s return. Needless to say, the move constitutes one of the most stunning deadline deals in recent memory.
Tulowitzki will pick up a $2MM assignment bonus and a full no-trade clause by virtue of being dealt. No money is changing hands other than the differences in the contracts, but the financial component of the deal was certainly significant.
Both of the primary pieces in this deal are playing under significant contracts. Tulowitzki is owed $20MM annually this season and from 2016-19, before a $14MM payday in 2020 and a $15MM club option ($4MM buyout) in the following campaign. Reyes, meanwhile, is on the books for $22MM annually from 2015-17, and comes with a $22MM club option that also includes a $4MM buyout. All said, then, Reyes is guaranteed $50MM less in total following the present season (before tacking on the additional $2MM assignment bonus and the remainder of Hawkins’ $2.25MM salary).
Tulowitzki, 30, has long been one of the game’s best overall players. And he is as closely associated with his franchise as is any other player. There has been near-constant speculation as to whether Colorado owner Dick Monfort would consider parting with his club’s superstar, but it appears that a series of disappointing seasons has finally brought matters to a resolution.
While the long-time Rockies franchise face has been quite good this year, he hasn’t played quite to his own lofty standards. Over 346 plate appearances, he’s registered a .305/.353/.478 slash. With the effects of Coors Field factored in, that’s good for a 111 wRC+. His defense has rated out more as good than excellent. The net is that he’s racked up 1.4 fWAR and 1.9 rWAR on the year. Through this approximate point last season (375 plate appearances), Tulo had already compiled 5.3 fWAR and 5.5 rWAR.
Of course, the biggest question with his long-term value lies in the arbitrary stopping point just noted. Tulowitzki never again took the field in Colorado after mid-July, as he ultimately underwent hip surgery. Since becoming a full-time regular in 2007, Tulo has averaged just 114 games a season.
With the first major move of his tenure, GM Jeff Bridich opened an array of questions about the team’s intentions over the coming days (and beyond). It remains to be seen whether Colorado has intentions of plugging Reyes into its lineup or, instead, moving him to a third club to add other young pieces.
Colorado does not have a deal in place currently to move Reyes elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. But a move seems quite plausible. The Rockies have highly-regarded shortstop prospect Trevor Story playing well at Triple-A, and just used the third overall pick in last month’s draft to select top-rated high schooler Brendan Rodgers, though he’s obviously a ways from the big leagues.
Then, there’s the matter of Carlos Gonzalez, long considered the twin-bill feature alongside Tulo at Coors Field. He’s rebounded from a long rough stretch to enhance his value, and a move to shed his remaining obligations while adding young talent now seems more plausible than ever. Having parted with Tulowitzki and Hawkins, Gonzalez and other veteran assets (such as reliever John Axford) could conceivably change hands.
Regardless whether Reyes is ticketed for another destination, he offers his own blend of upside and downside. At age 32, he’s fallen back to a .285/.322/.385 slash line and is no longer the outstanding defender he was early in his career. Still, he’s a solidly above-average regular in a position of some scarcity (at least, in terms of established veterans) around the league. This becomes the second time that his contract — originally signed with the Marlins — has changed hands, and it may not be long until it moves again.
As for the young pieces, the 22-year-old Hoffman fell to the Jays in last year’s draft after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That he was still taken ninth overall speaks to his talent, of course, and he’s already moved to the Double-A level with Toronto. Having cracked many top-100 leaguewide prospect rankings before the season, the high-upside right-hander shot up to 33rd on Baseball America’s mid-season list after showing his old stuff with a new UCL. He’s said to have a big fastball, excellent curve, and promising change. Over 67 2/3 innings, mostly at High-A, Hoffman has worked to a 2.93 ERA with 6.1 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9.
Castro, 20, has a more projection-dependent future outlook. He opened the year in the big league pen after finishing off 2014 at High-A. The righty struggled somewhat in that cameo, but still pitched beyond his years and has shown a live arm. He entered the year rated the #9 prospect in the Jays organization by Baseball America, which noted his lofty upside and need to develop reliable secondary offerings to factor as a long-term MLB starter. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs had him in the sixth slot this spring. With his quick ascent, Castro has moved to the fourth position on BA’s list and number five on MLB.com’s latest ranking.
Finally, Tinoco has enhanced his stock by working to a 3.54 ERA over 81 1/3 innings at the Class A level this year, striking out 7.5 and walking 2.4 batters per nine. Even before that promising showing, he landed 16th on the pre-season Blue Jays prospect list of Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. Tinoco can run his fastball up into the upper nineties and has two promising secondary offerings with good feel on the mound, per McDaniel, who indicates that the youngster has a good deal of upside.
As eye-opening as the transaction was for the Rockies, it’s arguably just as shocking — for different reasons — from the Jays’ perspective. Toronto has struggled with pitching all year, but has a highly productive lineup. Reyes was earning big money to play shortstop, and the rest of the infield was filled with productivity, including recent major trade acquisition Josh Donaldson — who rates as the game’s best third baseman — and first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion. (Notably, those sluggers, outfielder Jose Bautista, and numerous other key contributors are all right-handed hitters, as is Tulowitzki.)
Toronto will add a reliever to its mix in Hawkins, but he’s more of a sturdy presence than a shut-down arm. The 42-year-old owns a 3.63 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 over 22 1/3 innings on the year. It’s hard to believe at his age, but he’s compiled a 3.11 earned run average over 237 2/3 frames dating back to 2011.
Despite the fact that the Jays dealt away two promising young arms, it seems likely that the seemingly all-in club will use additional pieces to add a starter. But with one out-of-nowhere move now completed, it remains to be seen whether something even more creative could go down.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has pulled off his share of stunners over the years, with the deal that brought Reyes to Toronto ranking high among them. But after dealing for Donaldson, signing Russell Martin, and now adding one of the game’s best-known stars in Tulowitzki, Anthopoulos and his club are fully committed to win now in a manner not previously seen.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the deal (links to Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com was first to report that no money would be exchanged (Twitter links) and that three minor leaguers were in the deal. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun first noted Hoffman’s likely inclusion, via Twitter, with Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweeting that he would in fact be in the deal. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports was first to suggest that Castro was likely going to Colorado, on Twitter, with Heyman tweeting that he was a part of the package. Heyman tweeted Tinoco’s involvement. Rosenthal noted on Twitter that Tulowitzki would receive an assignment bonus and no-trade protection by virtue of being dealt.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
With Troy Tulowitzki reportedly heading from the Rockies to the Blue Jays, it’s a different trade market today than it was yesterday. Toronto declared itself committed to the present in spending several important trade chips on the star shortstop. Meanwhile, the Rockies now have another expensive veteran shortstop that features as a trade candidate in Jose Reyes. Though we’ve yet to hear anything regarding Colorado’s intentions with regard to Reyes, early indications are that the club is motivated to deal outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.
Here are some potential areas of impact of the blockbuster:
- The Rockies did not add Reyes with a deal already in place to move him elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported overnight on Twitter (as we noted in the Tulo deal post). While another move makes sense at first glance — Colorado is not in contention, and could turn to prospect Trevor Story and/or utilityman Daniel Descalso — it’s far from a sure thing. As I explained in assessing the trade market for shortstops, despite the relative lack of quality veterans available via trade, it’s also not clear that there’s much demand at the position.
- The Mets are uninterested in bringing back Reyes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. New York still has a potential need up the middle, but the veteran has not shown enough for the club to be amenable to taking on his big contract. In fact, the Mets declined a chance to land Reyes already, as the Blue Jays were widely shopping his deal, per Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Neither do the Mets intend to pursue Gonzalez, Marc Carig of Newsday hears (Twitter link). Though New York appears still to be in the market for outfield bats, the team may not be willing to consider that level of salary commitment.
- While the Blue Jays have sufficient lineup depth to move a major league bat for pitching, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the club does not have any plans to do so this summer. That had seemed at least one plausible path to improving the club’s rotation over the next few days. It remains to be seen how the loss of three talented pitching prospects in the Tulo deal will impact Toronto’s efforts to build out its staff. Certainly, the Jays have now evidenced a willingness to give up future assets to improve their team in the near term, but it’s unclear as yet whether they’ll be more or less inclined to do more of the same in chasing arms.
- In a tweet this morning, Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman indicated that he’s still focused on trying to work back by September. That may be somewhat optimistic, but it is worth remembering that he’s working back from a knee injury rather than arm problems (though Toronto will want to prevent the latter from developing out of the former). A hypothetical return from Stroman is still probably too much of a wild card to have an impact on Toronto’s current plans, but adding him back to the rotation would obviously represent a major boost at no cost.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Twins have signed pitcher Michael Bowden to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Bowden had previously triggered an opt out from his deal with the Orioles. Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN hears that Bowden can opt out of his new deal on August 22 (via Twitter). Once a prominent Red Sox prospect, Bowden has a 4.51 ERA, 6.73 K/9, and 3.64 BB/9 in 133 major league innings. With the Orioles Triple-A affiliate, he pitched to a shiny 1.91 ERA in 75 innings. However, his 6.21 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9 weren’t particularly exciting.
- The Rockies have signed pitcher Rudy Owens to a minor league deal, according to the league transactions page. Owens was a prominent component of the trade that sent Wandy Rodriguez from Houston to Pittsburgh in 2012. The 27-year-old appeared briefly with the Astros last season. He pitched at three levels for the Dodgers earlier this season. He was once viewed as a possible back-of-the-rotation starter, but he now seems to lack the necessary velocity and pitch peripherals to consistently succeed in the majors.
At least based on reports, the Mets appear to be one of the busier teams as we approach the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Here’s the latest, mostly via FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
- The Mets tried for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but they believe Colorado isn’t interested in a trade.
- The Mets have also looked into utilityman Ben Zobrist and reliever Tyler Clippard of the Athletics, but it appears likely that the Athletics will find better deals for both players, probably in two different trades.
- New York discussed sending Zack Wheeler to the Reds in a deal for outfielder Jay Bruce, but talks went nowhere. Andy Martino and Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Mets had discussed potential Wheeler deals with multiple clubs.
- The Mets and Brewers have had talks regarding Gerardo Parra, although it appears that there’s enough interest in Parra that the Brewers’ price has increased. That’s consistent with a tweet this afternoon from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt, who wrote that the Brewers have had lots of interest in Parra and will have their choice of various offers.
- The Mets are also interested in Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers, but so far, they have nothing to show for it, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets.
In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich said that he is “at least open to considering” a deal involving star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Twitter link). Last we checked in, Tulowitzki said he was not interested in being dealt, and he is believed to have significant sway with club ownership over his status. All said, there remains little reason to believe at present that Tulo is a serious trade candidate.
We already touched upon a series of interesting rumors involving National League clubs earlier today, but here’s the latest out of the NL:
- Despite recent chatter that the Braves could consider dealing starter Julio Teheran, the young righty is “not being shopped,” David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. Given his cheap control, O’Brien says the team would need to be overwhelmed by an offer to consider such a move.
- Indeed, the Braves are more likely to hold off on deciding whether to part with Teheran or outfielder Cameron Maybin, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. The more likely trade pieces for Atlanta, he suggests, are veterans on one-year deals such as reliever Jim Johnson, utilityman Kelly Johnson, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The Braves have been asked about outfielder Nick Markakis, who still has three years left on his free agent deal, but the team is not making him available. And while Juan Uribe could well be dealt, the club reportedly prefers to attempt to move Chris Johnson first.
- An executive of a club with interest in adding a hitter says the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That seemingly speaks to the availability of outfielder Jay Bruce, who recent reports indicate is very much in play.
- The Mets are still willing to deal Jon Niese, but are asking for a player with multiple years of control in return, Stark tweets. The southpaw has turned up his performance of late, racking up eight straight quality starts (at least 6 innings pitched, no more than 3 earned runs) since a run of rough outings to end the month of May. He is playing on a $7MM salary this year and represents a $9MM tab for 2016, but can be controlled thereafter through a pair of options ($10MM and $11MM, respectively, each with $500K buyouts). Given New York’s evident budgetary restrictions, it has seemed that moving Niese’s salary could be a way for the club to free resources to allocate to the struggling offense, but it’s not clear whether they’ll have much hope of pulling that off in a single transaction.