Kirk Nieuwenhuis Rumors

Mets Outright Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Mets announced today that they have outrighted Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Triple-A Las Vegas, thereby removing him from the 40-man roster (Twitter link). The transaction comes just days after the team had re-claimed the 27-year-old off waivers from the Angels, suggesting that the Mets value Nieuwenhuis as organizational depth but prefer not to spend a 40-man roster spot on him at this time.

ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin noted at the time the Mets re-claimed Nieuwenhuis that he suspected they’d try to get him through waivers because of a need to open roster spots for the injured Dillon Gee, Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the near future. Gee has since been activated, while Murphy reportedly could return this coming weekend and Wright may be back at the All-Star break.

Nieuwenhuis has been a productive bench option/fourth outfielder for the Mets in recent years, carrying a career .241/.315/.393 batting line into this season. That roughly league-average production, paired with modest speed and the ability to play all three outfield spots, does seem to indicate that he can be a useful role player for a club. However, in 64 plate appearances this season, Nieuwenhuis has batted just .100/.156/.167.


Mets Claim Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Mets have re-claimed outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets. The team has announced that it has moved reliever Jerry Blevins (forearm) to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on its 40-man roster.

The Mets designated Nieuwenhuis for assignment last month, then traded him to the Angels for cash. The Angels then designated him for assignment last week after 24 plate appearances for the club. Overall, Nieuwenhuis has posted a dismal .100/.156/.167 line in 64 plate appearances between the two teams this season. In the past, though, the left-handed hitter has been modestly productive, with a good eye and moderate power, and he posted a .259/.342/.482 line in 130 plate appearances last year. Nieuwenhuis can also play all three outfield positions, so he can be a useful player if he regains his stroke.

He is, however, out of options. Rubin thinks (again via Twitter) that the Mets might try to pass Nieuwenhuis through waivers again, as they’ll soon have to open spots for Dillon Gee (bereavement list), Ruben Tejada (paternity list) and Daniel Murphy (disabled list).


Angels Designate Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Angels announced that oufielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been designated for assignment. His roster spot will go to the newly-promoted Kyle Kubitza, a third base prospect who will see his first big league action.

Nieuwenhuis, 27, was not able to turn things around in brief action with the Angels after struggling earlier in the year with the Mets. All said, he’s slashed just .100/.156/.167 in 64 plate appearances. It’s still possible that the Angels will be able to stash him in the minors, though Nieuwenhuis could be headed for his third organization of the year.

Meanwhile, Kubitza will have a chance to fill in temporarily for David Freese, who is battling a seemingly minor injury. He came over to the Halos in exchange for lefty Ricardo Sanchez in an offseason deal with the Braves. The 24-year-old has put up a solid .287/.362/.452 line in 260 plate appearances in the PCL. Los Angeles will be watching closely to see whether he is ready to take over for the free-agent-to-be Freese heading into 2016.



Angels Acquire Kirk Nieuwenhuis

11:56am: The Mets will receive cash in the deal, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

11:47am: The Angels have acquired outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports on Twitter. Nieuwenhuis had been in limbo after being designated by New York last week.

The 27-year-old was off to a terribly start in his first 40 plate appearances, hitting just .079/.125/.132 while striking out 17 times and walking only twice. He’s shown more in the past, though Nieuwenhuis has never received much in the way of consistent playing time at the big league level. Over parts of five seasons at Triple-A, he owns a .260/.345/.468 line.

For Los Angeles, the out-of-options Nieuwenhuis represents a low-risk turnaround candidate who may offer an alternative to the struggling Matt Joyce. It’s unclear as yet how the Halos will structure their roster, which includes Joyce and the right-handed hitting Collin Cowgill (himself a former Queens-to-Anaheim trade piece) as corner outfield options alongside the well-entrenched Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun.


NL East Notes: Butler, Amaro, Mets, Nieuwenhuis

There is some intrigue surrounding the Marlins‘ field staff once again, according to multiple reports. Third base coach Brett Butler has been re-assigned to an outfield and base running coaching role, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. Assistant hitting coach Lenny Harris will replace Butler at third, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter that there was some action involving Butler. Miami recently installed former GM Dan Jennings in the managerial role vacated when the team fired Mike Redmond.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that “nothing is imminent” on the trade front, but that he is glad to see his club’s veterans performing, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports“These guys having success is good for us on all fronts, whether they stick with us and continue to be part of what we’re trying to do moving forward or whether we utilize those assets to improve our club,” Amaro explained. “Them doing well can only help our club.” As the “dialogue” continues with other clubs, the trade value of players like Jonathan Papelbon, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard has been on the upswing in recent weeks, as Salisbury explains.
  • Amaro went on to explain that the Phillies will be “conservative” in advancing young pitchers like Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin. As for whether fans would be upset with a slow advance from prospects while the big league team struggles, Amaro spoke directly (read the article for the comments in their full color). “[Fans] don’t understand the game,” Amaro said. “They don’t understand the process. … There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”
  • The Mets have fallen back after a hot start, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com takes a look at the team’s various issues. He identifies the health status of David Wright as perhaps the largest single cause for concern, rating just ahead of the club’s other injury issues and a generally less-than-inspiring offense.
  • Having been designated for assignment by the Mets this time last week, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be set to hit the waiver wire today if a last-minute trade can’t be reached, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com notes on Twitter. It will be interesting to see whether another team is willing to stake a 40-man roster spot on Nieuwenhuis after his miserable start to the year. If not, the Mets could benefit from a chance to help bring him back to form at Triple-A.
  • Nieuwenhuis is one of ten players currently in DFA limbo, as MLBTR’s DFA Tracker shows.

NL Notes: Cueto, Lester, Nieuwenhuis

Reds ace Johnny Cueto will miss his start Sunday with elbow soreness, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Raisel Iglesias will start in his place. The Reds say Cueto’s soreness is not serious. “He pitched in Kansas City without any trouble,” says Reds manager Bryan Price. “In the days following … his [soreness has] been lingering a little longer. He’s our workhorse. He probably could pitch tomorrow if we had to have him.” An extended absence would, obviously, be a serious blow to the Reds. Cueto came in second in NL Cy Young balloting in 2014 while leading the NL in innings pitched (243 2/3), batters faced (961) and pitches thrown (3,659). Those are very crude measures of a pitcher’s injury risk, but an elbow issue is surely at least worth watching for a pitcher coming off such a high-impact year. Cueto is, of course, a free agent after the season. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • After a poor first month of his $155MM contract with the Cubs, Jon Lester is feeling more comfortable, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com writes. “You definitely don’t want to be one of those guys that at the end of it you look at it as a bust,” Lester says. “You want everything to just fall into place. But sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes you have take a few beatings to get back to doing the things that you’re used to.” After posting a 6.23 ERA in April, Lester now has a 1.85 ERA in May after pitching seven strong innings against the Diamondbacks yesterday.
  • The Mets are still seeking to trade outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets. They designated Nieuwenhuis for assignment earlier this week, and his situation should be resolved by next weekend. Getting anything of value will likely be difficult — Nieuwenhuis had a terrible time in 40 plate appearances this season, hitting .079/.125/.132, and he’s out of options.

Mets To Designate Kirk Nieuwenhuis

The Mets have designated outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis for assignment, ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin reports on Twitter. That move seemed likely after the team announced that it would bring up fellow outfielder Darrell Ceciliani from Triple-A, necessitating a roster spot.

Nieuwenhuis, 27, has struggled badly in limited action thus far in 2015. The left-handed-hitting outfielder owns a .079/.125/.132 line over forty trips to the plate, racking up 17 strikeouts and just two walks. Notably, his flyball percentage has nearly doubled over his career rates, helping to drive a .143 BABIP.

It was readily apparent heading into the year that Nieuwenhuis would not have an everyday job, as the Mets’ outfield is firmly committed to Michael Cuddyer, Juan Lagares, and Curtis Granderson. But after slashing a strong .259/.346/.482 last year, he seemed a good bet to hold a job as a fourth outfielder. In spite of his troubles, Nieuwenhuis could appeal to other clubs who view him as a bounce-back candidate, particularly since he offers some pop and has experience in center.

Ceciliani, 24, was a fourth round pick in 2009. He has risen steadily through the minors and is in the midst of a big campaign for Las Vegas. Over 126 plate appearances, Ceciliani owns a .336/.381/.584 slash with five long balls and six stolen bases. Though his .384 BABIP surely has something to do with that batting line, Ceciliani has obviously shown enough good contact to warrant his first shot at big league action.


NL East Notes: Parnell, Nieuwenhuis, Nats, Phils

Mets reliever Bobby Parnell, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, says he is making good progress and expects to be ready for the spring, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports. Having suffered his injury early in 2014, it seems that Parnell has a good chance of returning early in the year, if not by Opening Day itself. That would create difficult but welcome decisions for New York, which has received encouraging production from some younger late-inning arms like Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, and Jeurys Familia.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Mets are using the rest of this year to take a long look at outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 27-year-old will be out of options next year. Though he has spent much of the year at Triple-A, Nieuwenhuis has posted a strong .259/.361/.506 slash with three home runs and four stolen bases over his 97 big league plate appearances to date.
  • An underappreciated element of the Nationals‘ success is the team’s well-balanced lineup, writes Drew Fairservice of Fangraphs. The club’s current starting lineup is made up entirely of players who have produced better than league average offensively this year, and that is with Ryan Zimmerman still on the disabled list.
  • Of course, that same well-balanced group of position players will also make for some tough decisions — both now and in the future — when Zimmerman returns to the mix. His torn hamstring is improving, making a mid to late-September return seem likely, according to a report from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. When he is activated, manager Matt Williams says, Zimmerman will play multiple defensive positions as he dials in his bat. “I would imagine he’ll play all three of those, on any given day,” said Williams. That creates some interesting possibilities for the Nats down the stretch, as they will be able to match up for the platoon advantage, give rest to regulars, and find a workable strategy for the postseason. It also could provide a look ahead at some of the possible arrangements for 2015 and beyond.
  • Whereas the Nats have plenty of options, the Phillies have few, writes Mike Petriello of Fangraphs. The club will shed only minimal veteran obligations after this year (Kyle Kendrick and Mike Adams), and arbitration raises will absorb much of that cash. Philadelphia’s problems remain largely the same as those I predicted and Petriello documented earlier this year: despite solid enough production from older players, the team’s overall roster (and, especially, its younger side) has not been good enough to rise out of the cellar. As Petriello goes on to argue, GM Ruben Amaro Jr.’s stated intention to turn over the club’s roster will play out against the stark backdrop that there are limited apparent routes — shopping Cole Hamels, getting something for Marlon Byrd, perhaps convincing Chase Utley to accept a trade — to swapping present value for future talent.

Red Sox Have Explored Trades For Many Relievers

FRIDAY, 1:03am: Theo Epstein has discussed multiple possible trades with former Red Sox assistant GM and current Padres GM Jed Hoyer, according to Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Globe duo believes Boston could have interest in a reliever like Joe Thatcher, and, given the team's excess of outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury returns, they may match up with San Diego.

THURSDAY, 12:59pm: Though they're on his no-trade list, the Red Sox asked the Brewers about Trevor Hoffman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsRosenthal adds that the Brewers are not inclined to move Hoffman.  Meanwhile they're getting calls on Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey.

12:05pm: The Red Sox are leaving no rock unturned in their search for relief help.  They've explored Rafael Perez, Will Ohman, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Capps, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, and Kyle Farnsworth, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Cafardo says Scott Downs looks unlikely unless the Blue Jays back down from their top prospect requests.  On a related note, SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays asked the Mets for outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis and one other player for Downs and were denied. 

Marshall is the interesting name here.  The 27-year-old lefty has had a dominant year in relief, posting a 1.71 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 52.6 innings with one home run allowed.  He's been especially strong against lefties.  Marshall is under team control through 2012 and would presumably be very difficult to pry loose from the Cubs.  Gonzalez is another surprising name, since he's spent most of the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury and is still owed good money.

Cafardo adds that the Red Sox have been shopping reliever Ramon Ramirez, and offers the opinion that a National League team might want to take a look at him.  Ramirez has a 4.57 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 41.3 innings with six home runs allowed and is a potential non-tender candidate after the season.