7:15 p.m. EST update: The Yankees have also been in touch with the Mets regarding Niese, though they’d seem to be unlikely trading partners. The rivals haven’t done a deal together since swapping left-handed relievers Mike Stanton and Felix Heredia in 2004.
7:10 p.m. EST update: Sherman reports that the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rockies and Padres are all making pushes for Niese, who would fit in as a nice No. 4 starter on a contender.
The Mets won’t part with David Wright, but everyone else on the roster is available, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. That lists includes first baseman Ike Davis and left-hander Jon Niese.
While a Davis trade is considered a big long shot, the Mets have discussed Niese with a few teams, Sherman reports. As a legitimate middle-of-the-rotation option still four months away from free agency, Niese would be attractive to pretty much every team looking for pitching. The 25-year-old is 22-23 with a 4.39 ERA since debuting with the Mets in 2009. He missed the final five weeks of last season, but since it was an intercostal strain, not an arm problem, that’s not likely to scare teams off.
The Mets are also perfectly willing to move Jason Bay, but according to Sherman, they’re not getting any hits on him.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.