Report: Pirates trying to trade Jon Niese and/or Jeff Locke

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With ace Gerrit Cole set to return from the disabled list on Saturday against the Nationals, the Pirates are looking to create room in their starting rotation for rookie Tyler Glasnow. The club is reportedly looking to trade Jon Niese and/or Jeff Locke, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Glasnow made his major league debut last Thursday against the Cardinals, yielding four runs on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He was rated the Pirates’ best prospect and eighth overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline prior to his call up.

Jameson Taillon also made his major league debut earlier this season and could return shortly after the All-Star break. Moving one of Niese and Locke would likely mean optioning Chad Kuhl back to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Niese is earning $9 million this season and can be bought out for $500,000 after each of the next two seasons, making him a free agent. Otherwise, his team can pick up his club option for $10 million for the 2017 season and $11 million for ’18. Dealing with a balky knee lately, Niese owns a 5.13 ERA with a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 101 2/3 innings this year.

Locke is earning $3.025 million for the 2016 season. He’s eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming eligible for free agency. The lefty has a 5.26 ERA with a 53/32 K/BB ratio in 101 innings this season.