Jonathon Niese Rumors

Mets Inquired On Jimmy Rollins

A Mets trade for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is “not happening,” a source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Rubin says such a move is not on the Mets’ radar due to the $120MM owed to Tulo through 2020, as well as the prospect cost of “two or three blue-chippers.”  More from Rubin:

  • The Mets spoke with the Phillies about acquiring Jimmy Rollins, writes Rubin.  Rubin adds, “The pursuit since has been dismissed because Rollins does not want to leave Philadelphia.”
  • The Mets are unenthusiastic about the available free agent shortstops, and plan to go the trade route to fill the position.  The Diamondbacks, Mariners, White Sox, and Cubs are viewed as viable trade partners.  Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says “it has been difficult, if not impossible” for the Mets and Cubs to agree on the value of Starlin Castro.  Meanwhile, Martino says Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox only emerged as a possibility within the past week.  Martino’s early read has the White Sox seeking the Mets’ top young starters and the Mets pitching their veterans.
  • If the Mets are unable to acquire a shortstop, or go with a defense-first type like Didi Gregorius, they are likely to retain second baseman Daniel Murphy, writes Rubin.  If they get a shortstop who can hit, Murphy is more likely to be dealt if the Mets get a sufficient offer.  Rubin expects the Mets to wait on Murphy until after resolving their shortstop situation.
  • The Mets seek a veteran lefty reliever to complement Josh Edgin in their bullpen.  They are also seeking a backup infielder, unless Wilmer Flores is bumped to that role.
  • The Mets will also consider trading Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, or Bartolo Colon.

Pitching Links: Niese, Samardzija, Hanrahan, Richard

It seems like every club is getting bad news regarding its pitchers these days, but the Mets can breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to lefty Jon Niese. ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin reports that Niese, who was pulled from Sunday's start early due to elbow discomfort, learned that he has some inflammation but no ligament damage in the elbow. He received a cortisone shot and is tentatively set to resume throwing on Wednesday. Niese still figures to open the season on the DL, according to Rubin, but only for a few days, as the Mets won't need a fifth starter until April 6. Niese is likely to be activated at that point.

Here are some more notes specifically pertaining to pitchers…

  • The Diamondbacks are likely to again scout Jeff Samardzija in the wake of Patrick Corbin's probable Tommy John surgery, reports Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. However, Levine writes that the Cubs would likely ask for Archie Bradley in return, which would seemingly end conversations before they began.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that free agent closer Joel Hanrahan is up to 90-92 mph in his rehab from Tommy John and flexor tendon surgery and could sign with a team soon. Hanrahan is coming off a season in which he pitched just 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox before undergoing surgery on May 16. He still has a ways to go on his velocity, as he averages 96-97 mph when he's at his best.
  • Free agent left-hander Clayton Richard tells MLB Network Radio's Scott Braun that he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last month (Twitter link). Richard rejected an outright assignment from the Padres and elected free agency at season's end, but this seems to rule out the possibility that he'd be ready to pitch anytime soon.

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:



Reaction To Rays-Royals Trade

The Royals continued adding to their rotation last night, acquiring James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays. It cost them the game’s top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers, and three others: right-hander Jake Odorizzi, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard. Here’s some reaction to the deal from around MLB…

  • In a piece for Grantland, Rany Jazayerli writes that the Royals almost got fair value for Myers, but the addition of three more prospects turns the trade into highway robbery for the Rays. He goes on to say that in shoving all his chips into the pot, Moore has done the same with his job security, possibly sacrificing the future for an illusory present.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore is "furious" over critiques insinuating that his motivation to make the deal was simply to preserve his job, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. In particular, Nightengale writes that Moore was livid over the reaction of ESPN's Keith Law (link included in earlier updates below). Moore calls any such allegations "very, very insulting."
  • Baseball America's Jim Callis writes that Myers instantly becomes the Rays' top prospect, and that Odorizzi slots in at No. 5 between Hak-Ju Lee and Alex Colome. Montgomery fits into the mid-teens, and Leonard would rank in the 20-30 range. The trade essentially boils down to Myers-for-Shields, in Callis' mind, as Odorizzi is similar to Davis but at an earlier stage while Montgomery and Leonard are lottery tickets. Because of that, he doesn't think it's a terrible deal for the Royals.

Earlier reactions:

  • One NL general manager called the trade "bold on both sides," ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports. Some evaluators prefer the deal for the Royals, while others believe the Rays did better. An AL GM told Crasnick both teams did well. "I don't get all the online angst towards Kansas City," the GM added.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has comments from many of the players involved in the deal. Odorizzi said he "definitely" feels ready for the MLB level, Topkin reports.
  • ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out that Myers is the first person to be named Baseball America's minor league player of the year and be traded before playing an MLB game for the organization with which he won the award.
  • Shields told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he'd be open to an extension of the Royals wanted to discuss one. "No doubt about it," Shields said (Twitter link).
  • Approximately 32,000 MLBTR readers voted on the deal and nearly half believe the Rays won. Another 32% say both teams won the deal and 17% say the Royals won.
  • It would have taken Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler for the Mets to obtain a similar package to the one the Rays obtained, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com first reported this news four days ago.
  • Though the trade reflects a sense of urgency from the Royals, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star doesn't get the sense that GM Dayton Moore is on the hot seat (Twitter link).
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggests the Rays will delay Myers' arrival at the MLB level to ensure he doesn't obtain a full year of service time in 2013. It's also possible that the Rays could look to extend the promising outfielder, Olney suggests. I agree with both of Olney's point here. There's no way the Rays can allow Myers to get a full year of service in 2013.
  • Six pro scouts don't consider the trade one-sided, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reports. The Royals don't deserve the criticism being directed their way, the scouts told Baseball America.
  • Shields will obtain a $750K trade bonus as part of the deal, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • One GM told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that "Myers is no slam dunk" and added that this is "far from a lopsided deal." Rosenthal suggests teams like the Royals can too often get fixated on their prospects and pass on opportunities to compete.
  • The Royals tried to trade Myers for Shields straight up, but the Rays said no, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes (Twitter links). The Royals also tried trading Myers to Oakland for Brett Anderson only to be turned down, Passan writes.
  • In Passan's view Royals general manager Dayton Moore made a desperate trade that will define his tenure as GM in Kansas City. Still, Passan writes, it's hard to blame the Royals for attempting to win now.
  • The Tigers weren't happy to see the Royals acquire Shields, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Shields is a difference maker who will make the Royals better, Knobler writes.
  • The Rangers had hoped to add Zack Greinke or Shields this winter, but lost out on both this past weekend, Knobler reports (on Twitter).
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star won't be surprised if the Royals seek a low-cost outfielder in free agency (Twitter link). After trading Myers, the club might have interest in spending $1MM or less on a rebound candidate.
  • It's an outstanding day for Rays fans, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes (Insider only). Conversely, this could be the deal that brings Moore's time in Kansas City to an end in Law's view.
  • My thoughts: the Rays were justified in trading Shields and Davis for Myers and the other prospects because they obtained more long-term value. While the Royals surrendered a lot, they addressed their most pressing weakness — starting pitching — in a meaningful way and increased their chances of competing in 2013. The Royals have much more rotation depth than they did two months ago. Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Shields and Davis make the Kansas City staff better. Yet you can make the case that they overpaid every time they acquired a new arm.

Mets Need To Be “Knocked Out” By Offer For Niese

The Mets aren't actively shopping Jonathon Niese, and despite an earlier report that they were interested in trading him for a package around Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, they have "zero interest" in such a deal according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (in these four tweets).

New York would have to be "knocked out" to trade Niese, who is not yet arbitration eligible and owns 286 strikeouts and 106 walks in 331 innings over the past two seasons. His ERA is a pedestrian 4.30 in that time, though his 49.5% groundball rate and advanced metrics like FIP (3.75) and SIERA (3.67) tell a different story.

At the Winter Meetings, we heard that the Mets would be willing to move any player other than David Wright, and several teams showed interest in the 25-year-old Niese, viewing him as a potentially cheaper alternative to Gio Gonzalez. Reports since then say that there have been "no significant talks," however, and Crasnick's strong words suggest that Niese won't be easy to acquire at all.


NL West Notes: Niese, Smith, Quentin, Cuddyer

We've already seen the Rockies make a big signing and the Padres swing a trade today, so let's check what else is cooking in the NL West….

  • Jonathon Niese "is believed to be available in a package built around" Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, reports Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports.  Smith's name has been whispered in the trade rumors all winter and he could be even more expendable now that Colorado has agreed to terms with Michael Cuddyer.  The Mets hadn't had any "significant" talks about Niese, though the Rockies were known to be one of the several teams interested in the young southpaw.
  • Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd "is having a very good winter. If he can add another strong arm or two, he has a chance at a great winter," writes Scott Miller for CBSSports.com.  Miller also examines how Cuddyer's clubhouse presence was an important factor in the Rockies' decision to sign him.
  • The Padres have the payroll space to trade for an available slugger like Carlos Quentin, writes Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  With free agent hitters wary of coming to Petco Park, the trade market is San Diego's best avenue for finding a bat, Rosenthal/Morosi note.  They also mention Quentin's past with Padres GM Josh Byrnes in Arizona, though it was Byrnes who dealt Quentin to the White Sox in 2007 when Byrnes was the Diamondbacks' general manager.
  • There is no risk of Frank McCourt trying to keep ownership the Dodgers, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  Doing so "would put hundreds of millions of dollars at risk to try a 'hail Mary' strategy," Shaikin writes.
  • Padres owner Jeff Moorad should speed up his purchase of the team from John Moores, opines Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Gio Gonzalez Rumors: Friday

No MLB pitcher has walked more opponents in the past two seasons than Gio Gonzalez and he's about to get expensive through arbitration, yet the Athletics are drawing strong interest in the left-hander. In fairness to Gonzalez, he has reached the 200-inning plateau in each of the past two seasons without posting an ERA above 3.23 and capable pitchers aren't easy to find (though Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has an alternative for teams who don't like the asking price on Gonzalez). Here are the latest rumors on Gonzalez:

  • The Nationals are "all but out" of the Gonzalez sweepstakes, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The Athletics' asking price is "way out of line," Ladson hears.
  • The Mets told the A's they won't include Jonathon Niese, Ike Davis, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia in a deal for Gio Gonzalez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • The Tigers are on the "outskirts" of the Gonzalez sweepstakes, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. They aren't upbeat about their chances of trading for him.
  • The A's would love to get a future third baseman in a deal for Gonzalez, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Rangers prospect Mike Olt is one possibility.
  • The A's continue seeking a huge package for Gonzalez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Though the Yankees "love" him, they aren't eager to surrender prospects such as Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
  • The Rangers, who are pursuing Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey, can be expected to try to trade for Gonzalez or Matt Garza if they don't win the bidding on Yu Darvish, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney also reports that the Rangers are likely to pursue Gonzalez if they miss out on Darvish. He tweets that 20-year-old left-hander Martin Perez would "almost have to be" in a deal between the A's and Rangers.
  • The market for Gonzalez and John Danks may pick up once the winner in the Darvish bidding is announced and the Rays decide which of their starting pitchers are available, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.

No Significant Trade Talks Involving Jon Niese

With starting pitching at a premium, the Mets were reportedly listening to offers for left-hander Jonathon Niese last week at the winter meetings. GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that there have been no "significant" trade talks involving Niese though, and he still envisions him as part of the club's future (Twitter link).

Niese, 25, told Andy Martino of The New York Daily News that the front office reached out to him last week after the trade rumors became public to assure him they still want him on their club (Twitter link). Three or four teams still have interest in trading for him according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter), and the Mets seek a young catcher and young pitchers in return. That price is too high for some clubs, says Martino (on Twitter). The Rockies and Yankees were said to have some interest in Niese last week.

Although his 4.40 ERA in 2011 is nothing special, Niese did post impressive peripheral stats in his 157 1/3 innings: 7.89 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, and 51.5% grounders. He's had trouble staying healthy in recent years thanks to hamstring and oblique problems, which is why he's never thrown more than 180 innings in a season, majors or minors. Niese is under team control for another four years, the final three as an arbitration-eligible player.


NL West Notes: Rockies, Stewart, Dodgers

Earlier today we saw a rare trade between division rivals when the Rockies sent Huston Street to the Padres for a player to be named later and cash. Let's take a look at some other news and rumors from the NL West…


Mets Listening On Niese, Others In Trade Talks

The Mets are being aggressive at the Winter Meetings, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, talking about everyone except David Wright. Among young players, the Mets are talking the most about Jonathon Niese rather than Davis, tweets Sherman. Niese, 25, is under team control through 2015 and could be an alternative for teams that find Oakland's asking price too high for Gio Gonzalez. Here are today's rumors on Niese and other Mets trade candidates, with the newest updates on top:

  • Teams have been inquiring about Mike Pelfrey as well, but the Mets were underwhelmed by the offers, tweets Martino.
  • The Mets would like a placeholder starter for their big league club in addition to a prospect for Niese, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post and Sherman (Twitter links). Sherman points to Jason Hammel as a possible match, though Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) hears the Rockies haven't had discussions with the Mets.
  • The Red Sox aren't a match for Niese, says Alex Speier of WEEI.
  • The Padres aren't interested in Niese, a source tells Martino (Twitter link).
  • Andy Martino hears the Mets would have to get a lot if they were to trade Niese, and aren't close to anything. Two team officials that spoke to Martino don't expect a trade today (Twitter links). Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger adds, via Twitter, that the asking price for Daniel Murphy is also high.
  • The Blue Jays are also talking to the Mets about Niese, tweets Sherman. The Yankees have also called, but Sherman isn't sure how serious they are (Twitter link).
  • The Mets are hoping to get multiple pieces in return for Niese, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. They're interested in adding a catcher, an infielder, and prospects.
  • The Red Sox have talked to the Mets and have interest in Niese, says Sherman.
  • The Padres and Rockies are among the teams interested in Niese, tweets Sherman.  The Padres could get in on Niese but have not engaged yet, adds Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.