Jon Niese Rumors

Mets Could Shop Bartolo Colon

The Mets will listen to offers for Bartolo Colon and could even start openly shopping the veteran right-hander, team sources tell Mike Puma of the New York Post.  There is no indication a deal would happen soon, however, as the team could wait until after the July 31st deadline since GM Sandy Alderson “has no pressure” to trade Colon.  (Puma points out that Alderson waited until late August 2013 to make the Marlon Byrd trade with the Pirates).

Colon turned 41 years old in May and his late-career renaissance is still going strong.  The veteran has posted a 3.88 ERA and a 5.27 K/BB over 106 2/3 IP as a Met, with 79 strikeouts and a league-low 1.3 walks per nine innings.  Those numbers do carry some heavy ballpark splits, as Colon has a 2.11 ERA in six Citi Field starts and a 5.06 ERA in 10 road starts.

Despite Colon’s age, the two-year, $20MM contract he signed with New York last winter is considered to be “relatively friendly,” an AL executive tells Puma.  Colon is owed roughly $4.4MM for the remainder of this season and is owed $11MM for 2015.

Moving Colon would line the Mets up for a full-scale pitching youth movement in 2015.  Jon Niese and Dillon Gee would be the most experienced members of a projected rotation that would also include a returning Matt Harvey and the likes of Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, while prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard could also be candidates to win jobs.  In this situation you could also expect the Mets to sign at least one veteran arm for depth purposes during the offseason, a la their addition of Daisuke Matsuzaka last winter.

Also from Puma’s piece, he notes that the Mets are “reluctant” to trade Niese, which fits with Alderson’s recent statements about Niese’s availability (or lack thereof).  Niese, for his part, tells Puma that he wants to remain with the Mets.


Mets Notes: Niese, Conforto, Syndergaard, Collins

The Mets have yet to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline, GM Sandy Alderson tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The next 10 to 12 days will be vital in making that assessment, Alderson said, but he made it clear that regardless of the way they go, the team isn’t likely to deal left-hander Jon Niese. Given the fact that the Mets can control Niese, who has a 2.88 ERA in 103 innings, through 2018, that stance isn’t entirely surprising. Niese is guaranteed $16.5MM through the 2016 season, and his contract contains a $10MM club option for 2017 and an $11MM club option for 2018. That would be tremendously difficult to part with, though it would also be highly appealing to other clubs and carry a great deal of trade value.

More from Heyman and other reporters on the Mets…

  • From that same piece, Alderson notes that Daniel Murphy‘s name has come up “periodically” in trade talks. Heyman suggests that Alderson’s statement includes the mention of a Murphy in trade that would net Jonathan Villar and others, which appeared in the recent Astros’ data leak. Heyman adds that Alderson didn’t deny anything that was mentioned in those notes.
  • In a second piece, Heyman reports that the Mets’ deal with top pick Michael Conforto still isn’t quite done. Alderson tells Heyman that the two sides are still working out three or four mostly non-financial clauses. The two sides remain in agreement on a $2.97MM signing bonus.
  • While he was once thought to be on the Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler summer promotion track, top prospect Noah Syndergaard now might not even be called up in 2014 at all, manager Terry Collins told reporters yesterday (including Mike Puma of the New York Post). One club source told Puma that team officials have struggled to get a read on Syndergaard, and some feel he would benefit from a full year at Triple-A. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote earlier today that a club official recently told him Syndergaard is “not even on our radar” at this point.
  • Martino also tweets that Alderson recently lamented the team’s run differential (a point he touched on with Heyman as well) but firmly stated that he doesn’t feel Collins is the cause for that issue.
  • The Mets announced the signings of 11 international free agents today, and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo runs down the list, noting that Venezuelan shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin received respective bonuses of $300K and $250K. None of the 11 signed by the Mets ranked among the Top 30 lists compiled by MLB.com and Baseball America.

Quick Hits: Hudson, Niese, Orioles, Lester

Giants starter Tim Hudson is baseball’s top unsung player, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan writes. One reason Hudson’s greatness often goes unnoticed is that his key weapon is the grounder, not the strikeout. With a ground ball rate of 57.4% this season, though, he’s been spectacular, with a 1.81 ERA, 6.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 89 1/3 innings — all despite being an undersized 38-year-old who missed much of last season with a serious ankle injury. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that the club has the resources to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline.  Alderson went on to say that pitcher Jon Niese won’t be trade bait.
  • Orioles Executive VP Dan Duquette told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he wants bullpen help as well as better offensive production at second and third base.
  • Red Sox starter Jon Lester tells WEEI’s Rob Bradford that he still wants to stay in Boston. “It’s all I’ve really known,” Lester says. “You don’t see many guys that get drafted by a team and end up staying there their whole career. It’s just something that I’ve always … wanted to do.” Lester cites his relationships with members of the Red Sox’s front office, and points out that his wife and kids would have to start their social lives anew if they were to move to a new city. Basic considerations like these rarely enter conversations about why a player might choose to sign with, or stay with, a team, but they’re clearly important. Lester, who is eligible for free agency after the season, says negotiations with the Red Sox will hinge on “what we think is a discount and still fair.”

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.



New York Notes: Sabathia, A-Rod, Myers

C.C. Sabathia received a stem cell injection in his right knee last week and will be out of action until at least July, Yankees GM Brian Cashman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Cashman said he has checked in with teams about trade possibilities and while “nothing has materialized,” Cashman “will keep an eye out to see if something does.”  Three-fifths of the Bombers’ regular rotation is currently injured, with Ivan Nova out for the season and Michael Pineda on the DL until mid-June at the earliest.

Here’s the latest from the Yankees and Mets in this roundup of Big Apple baseball news…

  • Alex Rodriguez told advisers last summer that he was considering retirement rather than go through a lengthy battle with Major League Baseball over his record PED suspension, reports Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, Michael O’Keeffe, Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News.  A-Rod was convinced to fight his suspension, however, after consulting with Desiree Perez, a New York nightclub manager affiliated with Jay Z and who also played a role in Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners.  Rodriguez may have been motivated to listen to Perez in part because, as the article states, he would like to become a player agent, possibly with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency.
  • Back when Wil Myers was still a Royals prospect, Kansas City offered him to the Mets for a trade package of Jonathan Niese and Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets.  Myers, of course, ended up being the centerpiece of the five-player package the Royals sent to the Rays in exchange for James Shields and Wade Davis.  It’s an interesting what-if to ponder for both the Mets and Royals; Myers would’ve given the Amazins a cornerstone player in the outfield, but at the cost of two quality young arms.  For K.C., Shields was the better win-now move, though he had only two years of team control and Davis has become a relief pitcher.  Wheeler is controllable through the 2019 season while Niese’s five-year contract has club options that could’ve extended the deal through 2018.
  • Also from Martino, he looks at some trade possibilities for the Yankees and Mets this summer.  The Mets looked at LaTroy Hawkins, Fernando Rodney and Grant Balfour over the winter and could explore trading for veteran closer help, plus shortstop could still be a position the Mets are looking to upgrade.  As for the Yankees, they could also use shortstop help but acquiring a big name could be awkward given the awkwardness of benching Derek Jeter during his final season.  A move for Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius makes sense for both New York clubs.
  • Particularly in the wake of the Sabathia news, the Yankees also need starting pitching.  Martino writes that while the Yankees may not have the prospect depth to attract a major trade chip, their financial resources could help them take big contracts off the hands of losing teams.  Possible trade candidates in this vein could be the Diamondbacks’ Bronson Arroyo or the Blue Jays’ Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey (if Toronto falls out of the race, that is).
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Paul Swydan criticizes both the Mets front office and manager Terry Collins for some transactions and personnel moves that Swydan feels “have left the Mets in an all-too-familiar middling position.”

NL Notes: Niese, D’backs, Pirates, Marlins, Dodgers

Mets left-hander Jon Niese was removed from his start today after only two innings and 35 pitches with what the club calls left elbow discomfort. Niese had been wearing a neoprene sleve on his left arm the past few days, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "It's the Spring Training from hell," Niese told reporters (as quoted by ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin). Niese also said he hyperextended the elbow, which first flared up during an intrasquad game 10 days ago, and has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing rehab since. Niese added the discomfort is in the back of the elbow, not in the ligament area (the focus of Tommy John surgery). The Mets are flying the 27-year-old to New York tonight with a MRI, his second in less than three weeks, scheduled for tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday

Elsewhere in the National League:


NL East Notes: Niese, Lee, Adams, Marlins, Rivero

Mets fans had a scare yesterday when projected Opening Day starter Jon Niese had to travel to New York to undergo an MRI after experiencing a dead arm. However, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted earlier today that the results of Niese's MRI were positive; doctors said his shoulder looked "perfect," and he will be able to resume throwing as soon as he returns to camp. Elsewhere in the NL East…

  • CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes that 2014 could finally be the year that the Phillies trade Cliff Lee if they fall out of contention. Lee says that the concept of trade rumors don't matter to him: "I really don't care. There’s no sense really thinking about it. Honestly, it usually means a good thing. It means you’ve had success and other teams really want you." Lee's contract is guaranteed through the 2015 season and contains a vesting option for 2016.
  • Rehabbing Phillies setup man Mike Adams threw his first bullpen of the spring today and said he felt great afterward, writes MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Adams felt some discomfort when throwing from flat ground on monday, but the Phillies' head trainer assured him it was ok. Adams, set to earn $7MM in 2014 after missing most of 2013, said he threw at about 85 percent intensity today and could be in the Phillies' bullpen sometime in April.
  • Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida spoke to Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill about his wealth of pitching prospects. Beyond Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, and Jacob Turner, the Marlins also have minor leaguers Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, Adam Conley, Brad Hand and Brian Flynn. "Those guys are all starting pitchers, which is an envious position to be in," Hill said. "We're proud of our depth, happy to have it and just hopeful that they all develop into what we think they can be."
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo calls recent trade acquisition Felipe Rivero a "huge-upside left-handed starter," writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. Wagner spoke with Rivero about his transition from the Rays organization to the Nationals.

New York Notes: Cashman, Drew, Niese, Tulo, Franklin

Earlier today, it was reported that the Yankees will be monitoring the market for infielders in Spring Training but aren't looking to spend any significant cash in order to upgrade their infield. Here are some more items pertaining to New York's teams…

  • Despite the Yankees' 85-77 record, GM Brian Cashman approached the winter as if his club had only achieved its Pythagorean record of 79-83.  “Our team over-performed last year,” Cashman told reporters, including Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. “It’s a credit to everybody involved in that process. But the record didn’t reflect the talent. And so when you take a sledgehammer to the roster like we did this winter and spend the money we did, it’s more reflective of recognizing. Of not being fooled.” 
    the Bombers’ best insurance policy
    the Bombers’ best insurance policy
  • Stephen Drew is "the Bombers' best insurance policy" given the Yankees' thin infield situation, The Record's Bob Klapsich writes.  While the Yankees are concerned about Drew's medicals and seemingly have no payroll space left, Klapisch notes that the club is already putting a lot of hope in an infield with major injury risks (i.e. Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Mark Teixeira).  "Basically, we have to keep everyone from breaking down," a Yankees official tells Klapisch.
  • According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Mets GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged that his team appears to be a logical landing spot for Drew, but the team has made its own cost-benefit evaluation and acted accordingly to this point. Alderson opined the Drew and agent Scott Boras "are reviewing the situation and perhaps looking at a strategy that prolongs this situation into the regular season or even into June."
  • Mets lefty Jon Niese was shut down due to a dead arm and is heading back to New York for an MRI, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo (on Twitter). Manager Terry Collins told reporters, including the Daily News' Kristie Ackert, that the MRI is a precaution at this time.
  • In a video blog at ESPN.com, Jim Bowden addresses rumors surrounding Troy Tulowitzki and the Yankees, noting that the Rockies star won't be traded to New York to replace Jeter no matter how much talk of the possibility surfaces.  Bowden says that Rockies president Dan O'Dowd has told him repeatedly that Tulo won't be traded.
  • The Mets will scout Nick Franklin throughout Spring Training and pay special attention to his defense, a team source tells John Harper of the Daily News (Twitter link). The club likes Franklin's pop but isn't sure about his glove at short, the source said. Reports earlier this week connected the Mets to Franklin.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post


AL East Notes: Niese, Napoli, Yankees

The Mets could have kept R.A. Dickey and sent Jon Niese to the Blue Jays for prospects Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard this offseason, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. One of Martino's sources said the Blue Jays have always loved Niese. “They absolutely would have done that,” the person said. Some Mets people actually preferred Dickey to Niese, according to Martino. The Blue Jays ultimately acquired Dickey from the Mets for a package of players including d’Arnaud and Syndergaard.

Now for some more links related to the AL East…

  • Mike Napoli told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the environment in Texas "was awesome" because of a great core group of players. The 31-year-old said he kept talking to the Rangers during his time as a free agent but decided to sign with the Red Sox after speaking to GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell. “I think going through the whole thing I was hoping we would work it out in Boston,” Napoli told Bradford. “The role did play into it, but I think going into it and other teams being involved I still had my mind set that I was going to come to Boston.”
  • While the Red Sox once had 'too much' bullpen depth, health issues have depleted the team's pitching and a spring trade no longer seems necessary, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney wonders if the Yankees could pursue Scott Rolen, Don Kelly or Russ Canzler in the aftermath of the injury to Mark Teixeira. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post noted earlier today that the Yankees’ alternatives include Carlos Lee and Tyler Colvin.

Los Angeles Notes: Hamilton, Managers, Niese

The Dodgers have dominated the headlines in Hollywood for most of the winter but the Angels stole the spotlight today by reaching agreement with Josh Hamilton on a five-year, $125MM contract.  Here are a few items about both Los Angeles franchises…

  • Hamilton's agents approached the Dodgers and the team did background work on the outfielder, but the Dodgers never seriously considered signing him, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  The Dodgers simply didn't have room in the outfield with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford all locked up to major long-term contracts.
  • Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia will both be under tremendous pressure to manage their respective teams to postseason success in 2013, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Scioscia is under contract through 2018 but the Angels haven't made the postseason in three years and the skipper seemed to be on the hot seat last year during the team's slow start.  As for Mattingly, he is entering the final year of his three-year contract.  Hernandez also addresses a number of other questions about both teams as part of his Q&A piece, including if the Angels signed Hamilton as a response to the Dodgers' high-profile moves.
  • The Angels are interested in Jonathon Niese and share an interest in R.A. Dickey with the Rangers, reports Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.com.  Cerrone believes the Blue Jays also have their eye on both Mets pitchers, with Niese as their first choice.
  • There are still some outstanding questions about the Dodgers' financial situation and the status of their rumored multi-billion dollar TV deal with FOX, writes ESPN's Darren Rovell.
  • Earlier today we explored the reaction to the Hamilton signing and its impact around the league.

NL East Notes: LaRoche, Nats, Mets, Niese

The Mets are shopping R.A. Dickey, the Nats agreed to sign Dan Haren, the Phillies are in on Michael Bourn, the Marlins are telling teams they won't trade Ricky Nolasco, and the Braves are exploring their left field options. Here are even more NL East notes:

  • The Nationals are at two years for Adam LaRoche, and a third-year vesting option figures to be enough to get a deal done, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo talked to LaRoche's agent last night.  Rizzo is optimistic, but the team is staying at two years and not including an option.
  • In speaking to reporters today, Nats manager Davey Johnson conveyed his desire to have LaRoche back in the middle of Washington's lineup: "Adam LaRoche is going to come back. If I have to go to Kansas and take all his cattle to Florida, I will" (Twitter link via Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com).
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke to Scott Hairston's agent today, and believes the Mets may leave Nashville with an outfielder. Whether that player is Hairston or someone else, Alderson will be "careful" about giving out a multiyear deal (Twitter links via ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin).
  • There has been virtually no trade discussion about Jon Niese in Nashville, with the Dickey talks at the forefront for the Mets, says Alderson (Twitter link via Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger).