Mets would need to be “knocked out” to trade Jon Niese

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There was an interesting report by Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com yesterday that Mets’ left-hander Jon Niese was available in a trade centered around Rockies’ outfielder Seth Smith. It didn’t make a lot of sense on the Mets’ end, barring the inclusion of a third team, and it turns out there isn’t much to it.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Mets have “zero interest” in parting with Niese in a deal involving Smith. What’s more, he hears they would have to be “knocked out” to trade him. I assume that doesn’t mean literally. MLB probably wouldn’t be happy about that.

Anyway, this seems to jibe with what Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is hearing, specifically that Niese, Ike Davis, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia are off-limits in trade talks for Athletics’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez. However, if that’s true, Gio Gonzalez probably won’t be a Met.

Niese has a 4.39 ERA over his first 370 2/3 innings in the majors, averaging 7.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. The 25-year-old southpaw has traditionally underperformed relative to metrics like FIP and xFIP, mostly due to an usually high batting average on balls in play. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and under team control through 2015.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.