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.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.