Jon Niese Rumors

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).

R.A. Dickey Rumors: Monday

A reigning Cy Young winner is on the trade block, and we've got all of today's updates on R.A. Dickey right here, with the newest items added to the top throughout the day:

Earlier updates:

  • The Dodgers have talked to the Mets about Dickey, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.  Gurnick notes that Dickey could be a fallback for Zack Greinke, or maybe the team will just sign both to have three Cy Young winners on the staff.  The question is whether the Dodgers have the right players to pull off a deal.
  • Talks for Dickey between the Mets and Red Sox were "very preliminary," a Major League source tells WEEI's Alex Speier, and a deal is extremely unlikely.
  • There has been strong interest in Dickey today, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but he's heard the Mets did not ask the Red Sox for specific players.
  • The Mets met with eight teams today about Dickey, according to Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald of ESPN.  The Red Sox were one of those teams, and the Mets wanted Xander Bogaerts andJackie Bradley Jr. in return. We heard earlier that the Sox didn't have interest in Dickey, so perhaps the Mets' exorbitant asking price is playing a part in that lack of interest.
  • GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged that he's had "preliminary talks" with multiple teams about Dickey and other players, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. According to Alderson, there have been more conversations about Dickey than Niese, though that could change (Twitter link).
  • Fair or not, Dickey's age and repertoire is making teams reluctant to give up significant talent for him, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Of course, as Martino adds in a second tweet, it just takes one club to step up and change that. Still, for now, Jonathon Niese is viewed as the more appealing Mets arm, according to Martino.
  • Although the Mets are "more than willing" to discuss Dickey, the Red Sox haven't shown any interest, says Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, noting that the Mets could do better than Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Twitterlinks).
  • The Mets have gotten "serious" about trading ace knuckleballer Dickey as soon as this week, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark after hearing from a source.  Stark says the Rangers and Royals are seen as the most logical fits.
  • Earlier today, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweeted that he believes the Mets "genuinely don't know right now if they'll sign or trade" the NL Cy Young winner.  The 38-year-old can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Blue Jays Notes: Arencibia, Davis, Niese, Happ

Yesterday, the Blue Jays non-tendered Bobby Wilson, leaving J.P. Arencibia, John Buck, and Travis D’Arnaud as the remaining catchers on the 40-man roster.  Here's the latest out of Toronto courtesy of Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..

  • Arencibia is the most likely to be moved and the Jays previously have talked about him in trades for pitchers such as Rays right-hander Wade Davis and Mets left-hander Jon Niese, according to major league sources.  The Jays might need to give more than the 26-year-old to acquire such a pitcher, but aren’t necessarily eager to make that type of move.
  • Toronto seems more inclined to add depth than find an upgrade over fifth starter J.A. Happ, sources say.  Happ, 30, posted a 4.79 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 last season for the Astros and Blue Jays.
  • With that in mind, the Jays could look to sign a low-end free agent pitcher as well as minor league free agents to ensure that they are better protected against injuries than they were throughout last season.