Jon Niese Rumors
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:
- With the possibility Niese may open the season on the disabled list, Jenrry Mejia could join Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Mets' rotation with John Lannan earning a relief role, according to Rubin.
- The Diamondbacks are another team scrambling to fill a void in their starting rotation in the wake of the news from earlier today Patrick Corbin could be facing Tommy John surgery. GM Kevin Towers, however, plans to use in-house options like Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, and Josh Collmenter rather than seek a trade immediately, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
- Noah Syndergaard, who remains in the Mets' Major League Spring Training camp, was the key component in last offseason's R.A. Dickey trade, writes Matt Ehalt of the Record. "I think eventually it got to the point where we needed Syndergaard," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Mets' special assistant to the GM. "I think in order to finish it off, we needed a younger, higher prospect to make us say, 'OK, it's worth trading a Cy Young Award winner.'"
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team's bullpen depth is "a chance to move a guy that can go help someone else to add a piece," tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Travis Sawchik. Huntington also gave a near-guarantee Edinson Volquez will be in the Pirates' starting rotation, Sawchik tweets.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post contradicts a story from this morning the Rockies are in the market for right-handed bullpen help. A source tells Renck the club prefers to give Chad Bettis or Chris Martin a chance before pursuing a trade.
- Being forced to rush their young pitching prospects to the Majors has come back to haunt the Marlins, as Jacob Turner and Brad Hand (22 and 23, respectively) are now out of options, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Dodgers have selected the contract of Justin Turner and will bring Chone Figgins to Australia, reports Dylan Herndandez of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes broke the news in February of Turner agreeing to a minor league contract with the Dodgers and now the 29-year-old will make $1MM as a reserve infielder. Figgins, who signed a minor league deal in January and is trying to make the squad as an utilityman, will be one of 30 players the Dodgers are taking on the trip (only 25 will be active on game day).
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.
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 policythe 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
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.
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.
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).
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:
- The Diamondbacks met with the Mets on Dickey, but talks didn't get far, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino hears the Mets' asking price is very high. He also notes that there's not much happening between the Mets and Blue Jays.
- 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.
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.
The latest on the Mets..
- Earlier today at the GM meetings, Sandy Alderson brought up the idea of possibly trading Jon Niese or Dillon Gee unprompted, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Mets will listen on anyone but are more reluctant to move Niese than others.
- A Mets official told Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) that the team probably won't trade Daniel Murphy because of the void it would create at second base. Jordany Valdespin would be the alternative and he isn't viewed highly enough in the organization to be moved up into that slot.
- The Mets announced that they have agreed to terms with catcher Mike Nickeas on a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training.
With less than one month remaining in the regular season it’s time for some teams to look ahead to the offseason. Here’s the latest on a pair of potential trade candidates...
- Justin Upton is aware that this could be his final month with the Diamondbacks, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Upton said he’s comfortable in Arizona, but prepared for the possibility of a trade. "I'm in a good place right now," he told Piecoro. "I'm in a good place mentally about it.” The Diamondbacks considered trade offers for Upton this summer and haven’t publicly ruled out the possibility of a winter trade.
- Baseball officials wonder if the Mets would trade Jon Niese, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. Rival executives have noticed Niese’s production (3.55 ERA in 165 innings) and believe the left-hander could bring the Mets a quality return in a potential trade. One executive told McCullough the Mets could get two or three prospects for Niese and others compared him to Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill. Niese is under team control through 2018 after signing a five-year, $25.27MM extension this spring.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog weighs in and explains why the Mets would likely target "an established, young, under-control position player" if they put Niese on the market. Cerrone wonders if the Mets could match up with the Diamondbacks on a possible deal involving Upton and explains why trading Niese for a legitimate outfield bat could appeal to GM Sandy Alderson.