Jon Niese Rumors
12:20pm: MLB.com's Marty Noble writes:
The possibility of the Mets signing a lesser alternative isn't precluded, but the club is unlikely to act on picking up another starter until it's satisfied it has done all that is possible -- and financially feasible -- to bring in Lowe.
Noble says the Mets sense Lowe's price tag is $16-17MM per year.
8:37am: Ken Davidoff of Newsday lays out the Mets' plans for their starting rotation.
For Oliver Perez's slot, the Mets want to either re-sign Perez or sign Derek Lowe. Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, and possibly Tim Redding are the backup plans to these two.
The fifth starter job has sparked an internal debate - it could be given to Jon Niese, or the Mets could bring in competition with pitchers like Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, or Eric Milton. This decision will not be made this month.
The latest from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Mets GM Omar Minaya recently admitted he did not expect to pursue A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe, saying, "I'm probably not going to be in there right now, financially. Not after spending all the money that I did on K-Rod." Sherman isn't sold, though - he thinks Lowe's price could drop and give the Mets a shot.
- The Dodgers haven't received a counter-offer to their two-year, $45MM proposal, so they won't be making another bid. Sherman adds that they are planning to non-tender Takashi Saito.
- The A's remain the frontrunners for Rafael Furcal.
- Sherman says the Nationals have bid seven years and $140MM for Mark Teixeira. That offer was reported on Wednesday to be eight years, $160MM. Sherman says the backup plans are Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson. I believe the Hudson link is new.
- The Mariners had tried to pry Jonathan Niese from the Mets for J.J. Putz. Sherman also notes strong interest in Aaron Heilman. He says the Mets and Cubs did not discuss Jason Marquis, contrary to reports.
The Mets signed Francisco Rodriguez yesterday, but GM Omar Minaya is not done tinkering with his bullpen. SI.com's Jon Heyman says Matt Capps, Huston Street, and others are on the radar as setup possibilities. However, teams are asking for Jon Niese and the Mets don't want to give him up. Heyman adds that the Mets have talked to the Mariners and Cubs about relief help as well.
Links for Monday...
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik admitted to have a conversation with Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent, but wouldn't reveal anything else.
- One of Matthew Cerrone's readers dug up a Primera Hora article saying the Mets have been scouting free agent reliever Fernando Cabrera.
- Bob Klapisch looks at Pedro Martinez's four-year, $53MM deal and asks: was it worth it?
- Rays Index notes that Grant Balfour will use WBC participation as a bargaining chip in contract negotiations (he's eligible for arbitration).
- Marc Hulet of Baseball Analysts looks at top hitters for the Rule 5 draft.
- Fire Brand of the American League did a Q&A with ESPN's Peter Gammons. Some good stuff in there.
- A few notes from Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker. The Hanshin Tigers are reportedly considering offering $20MM over four years to Kenshin Kawakami, while Yu Darvish had his contract renewed at $2.7MM for next year.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets want to add one starter and push Jonathan Niese to the #5 spot.
- Rany Jazayerli notes that a John Buck trade would make sense for the Royals.
- I mentioned the Royals' signing of J.R. House earlier, but should add that they also signed Franquelis Osoria and Matt Tupman to minor league deals.
8:39am: SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Mets have "kicked around" the idea of acquiring Ian Snell from the Pirates and using him in relief for the rest of the year. Snell is signed through 2010 with club options for '11 and '12. It's tough to see the Bucs moving him, even in an off year.
8:13am: According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Mets are not finding a deal to their liking for a reliever or outfielder. They've put pretty much all of their good prospects off-limits - Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell.
Players such as Raul Ibanez, Brian Fuentes, George Sherrill, and J.J. Putz have all been on the radar. But the Mets just don't like the prices. Lennon says they still might move Scott Schoeneweis though.
Some additional notes from ESPN's Jayson Stark:
- The Mariners still want Jon Niese and another prospect for Raul Ibanez; the Mets are not biting. Similar situation with the Ms asking the Cubs for Felix Pie and another player.
- The Mets aren't in on Jarrod Washburn or Tim Redding.
- The Marlins are making it clear that there is no done deal for Arthur Rhodes. Clark Spencer had written the Fish "could be closer" to a deal for Rhodes than a catcher. Stark says the Mariners are driving a hard bargain for Rhodes, with the Red Sox, Marlins, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, and Rays checking in.
12:06pm: ESPN's Buster Olney ranks the Mets' priorities as reliever, corner outfielder, and starter, in that order. They're currently discussing Ibanez with the Mariners, but not much has come of it yet.
10:17am: Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger doesn't buy the denials - he says Mets GM Omar Minaya remains interested in Manny Ramirez. The Mets rank Ramirez above alternatives like Raul Ibanez, Adam Dunn, and Randy Winn, and might make certain prospects available just for Manny. Is Jon Niese among them? Niese is thought to be untouchable, and was promoted to Triple A today.
Meanwhile Mets manager Jerry Manuel endorsed Fernando Tatis at the everyday left fielder. David Lennon doesn't expect a trade unless the price comes down on Ibanez. Can Tatis continue to channel his glory days, when he posted a .957 OPS with 34 home runs for the '99 Cardinals?
Graziano also talked to an NL official familiar with the Mets' plans. That person said the Mets are considering a bullpen overhaul where they would ship out Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis and bring in different relievers.
Rounding up rumors and links from the weekend...
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Mariners are asking the Mets for Jon Niese for Raul Ibanez. Not likely.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says the Braves would require Conor Jackson from the D'Backs in a Mark Teixeira deal, but Arizona is not biting.
- Another quick hit from Olney: the White Sox are surveying the relief market in the wake of Scott Linebrink's shoulder injury.
- Several readers have written in about Phillies' lefty J.A. Happ being pulled early from a Triple A start (2.2 scoreless innings) with no sign of injury. Something to keep an eye on, as the Phillies hunt for a lefty reliever on the trade market. UPDATE: Happ may be getting the call to replace Adam Eaton.
- Even on the DL, Phil Hughes has been in high demand.
- The White Sox let Esteban Loaiza go.
- No team claimed Kei Igawa off waivers. Also, the Yankees designated LaTroy Hawkins for assignment.
- Ned Colletti on the possibility of trading Derek Lowe: "No."
- Jim Bowden and Chad Cordero patched things up, making a re-signing possible this winter.
- The emergence of Jeff Samardzija this weekend may make Scott Eyre or Jon Lieber expendable.
- At least 20 teams have called about one of the Rangers' catchers.
- Jamey Newberg wrote a few days ago that most likely the only way Kevin Millwood can lock in his $12MM for 2010 will be to pitch 180 innings next year.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have asked various teams for the following players for closer Brian Fuentes: Wade Davis, Ian Kennedy, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Niese. Tracy Ringolsby says no concrete offers have been made for Fuentes yet.
Fuentes will provide two months of solid relieving, and possibly two draft picks after that. But alternatives are plentiful, and the Rockies are in danger of overplaying their hand if the price doesn't come down soon. It doesn't help the Rockies that the Nationals accepted Emilio Bonifacio for for 2.3 years of Jon Rauch.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest Pirates hot stove chatter.
- The Pirates are not opposed to creating a hole at shortstop for the rest of the year by trading Jack Wilson. They would just need the right return. Teams are still calling on Wilson, with the Dodgers confirmed and the Tigers possible.
- A Jason Bay deal seems less likely - the Pirates' price is high for their star.
- Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte continue to draw interest, with John Grabow in the mix as well. Nady or Marte would require two prospects each. Nady's suitors are the Rays, Mets, Yankees, and Braves. Marte has roughly a dozen suitors.
- Ed Price of the Newark Star-Ledger says the injury to Hideki Matsui led to heightened interest from the Yankees in Nady and Bay. They're also in on Marte and Grabow. The Bucs aren't interested in Melky Cabrera.
- Interesting stuff in this John Perrotto article found via DRays Bay. He names the Red Sox, Tigers, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, and Rays as teams interested in Marte. The Tigers, Phillies, and Cardinals also have an eye on Grabow.
- Perrotto runs through all kinds of names of interest to the Pirates: Anthony Reyes, Chris Duncan, Jeff Larish, Matt Joyce, Ross Ohlendorf, Brent Lillibridge, Brandon Jones, Jeff Niemann, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz, and Bobby Parnell.