12:37pm: Niese will take 24 to 48 hours to see if any other teams are interested in his services, per Sherman, but he’s “leaning toward” re-upping with the Yankees. Niese would then begin the year in extended spring training, where he’d work to increase the mid-80s fastball velocity he has flashed this spring (Twitter links).
10:42am: The Yankees have released left-hander Jon Niese, per a team announcement.
Niese worked almost exclusively from the rotation with the Mets and Pirates from 2008-16, an 1,189-inning span in which he logged 197 starts in 211 appearances and posted a 4.07 ERA, 6.92 K/9, 2.78 BB/9 and a 50.1 percent ground-ball rate. However, he totaled a career-high nine relief appearances between New York and Pittsburgh last year, when he endured the worst season of his career, and then had to settle for a minor league pact with the Yankees in February. That came toward the end of a quiet offseason for the soft-tossing Niese, who paired a bloated ERA (5.50) with a sky-high home run-to-fly ball ratio (22.1 percent) in 121 innings in 2016.
Although the Bombers are lacking experience in the rotation after Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, they didn’t consider Niese for a starting role. Instead, they gave him an opportunity to make their roster as a reliever, which he wasn’t able to accomplish. The Yankeees are open to keeping Niese in their system, tweets the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who adds that there’s a “strong possibility” that he’ll head to their minor league camp to build up his arm strength.