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.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.