Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that both the Dodgers and Cubs have interest in Mets left-hander Jon Niese. It’s been no secret that the Mets would like to move Niese and/or Dillon Gee in the right circumstances as that would relieve the logjam in the starting rotation.
Niese, 28, has the prorated portion of his $7 million salary for the 2015 season remaining, plus $9 million in 2016 and a $500,000 buyout for either the ’17 or ’18 season. He has a 4.12 ERA this year along with a 58/27 K/BB ratio in 83 innings.
Though Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel have both been excellent in the Cubs’ starting rotation this year, Jon Lester — the club’s big off-season signing — has struggled, as have Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood. The Dodgers have had dominating starting pitching at the top end with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, but lack depth and Niese would certainly help in that regard.
Travis Wood earned his first career save on Saturday, closing out the Cubs’ 4-1 win against the Pirates. Bruce Miles of the Chicago Daily Herald reports that the Cubs intend to keep Wood, who has struggled as a starter, in the bullpen. The Cubs will discuss their plans for the rotation on Sunday. Miles suggests Tsuyoshi Wada will most likely take Wood’s rotation spot.
Wada has been pitching at Triple-A Iowa, where he has compiled a 2.86 ERA with a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 innings. He made 13 starts at the big league level last year, finishing with a 3.25 ERA and a 57/19 K/BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings.
Thanks to a little help from the Mets, the Cubs rallied for a 6-5 win this afternoon at Wrigley Field to finish off a four-game sweep.
The Mets got out to an early 5-1 lead behind two home runs from Anthony Recker, a solo shot from Wilmer Flores, and a two-run single from John Mayberry, Jr., which chased Travis Wood from the ballgame. However, the Cubs tied things up against Jon Niese by batting around in the bottom of the fifth inning. A throwing error from Wilmer Flores helped open the door for more damage, but Niese gave up four hits and a walk in the frame.
Niese stuck around until the seventh inning when he gave up a one-out single to Dexter Fowler before hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. He was relieved by Hansel Robles, who got Kris Bryant to fly out to right field, but Fowler moved over to third base on the play and eventually came around to score the go-ahead run when Recker was charged with a passed ball during Starlin Castro’s at-bat. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon followed with scoreless innings to finish off the victory for Chicago.
This was the Cubs’ first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 29-June 1, 2008 against the Rockies and their first four-game sweep against the Mets since August 6-9, 1992.
The Mets are 7-12 since their 11-game winning streak and now sit at 20-15 on the year, just one game ahead of the Nationals in the National League East. As for the Cubs, they improved to 19-15 on the year with the sweep and find themselves five games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central.