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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.