Jon Niese’s long-term contract with the Mets is now official, with Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reporting that the five-year deal is worth $25.5 million in guaranteed money and covers all three arbitration eligible seasons plus his first year of free agency.
It also includes a sixth-year team option for $10 million and a seventh-year team option for $10.5 million, meaning Niese could potentially earn as much as $46 million over seven seasons.
Not even close to, say, Matt Cain money, but not bad for a guy with a 4.39 ERA in 371 career innings spent in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that the contract is very similar to Derek Holland’s recent five-year, $28.5 million deal with the Rangers, which also included a pair of option years.
Niese’s secondary numbers suggest he’s capable of taking a step forward, in which case the Mets will have been smart to lock him up now, but he’s also never thrown even 175 innings in a season. If nothing else, between the $25.5 million from the Mets and the $10,000 from former teammate Carlos Beltran to pay for his nose job Niese has moved safely ahead of Eric Nies in the Nies/Niese rankings.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.