Another ugly season for the Mets just got uglier.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, starting pitcher Jon Niese has been diagnosed with a strained left shoulder and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Niese left his Friday start against the Rangers after being struck on the back by a line drive but that has nothing to do with this shoulder injury, which has been lingering and could threaten to sideline the lefty for a considerable amount of time.
Rubin notes that Niese’s fastball velocity is at a career-low average of 88.6 mph this season — down from 90.2 mph in 2013. But he’s still been pretty effective at that diminished speed, posting a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 103 1/3 innings. Dillon Gee (lat) will replace him in the Mets’ starting rotation this week.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.