With the Mets still needing at least one infielder and the Cubs continuing to search for starting pitching, the two teams continue matchup well for a potential deal at some point.
As such, the Cubs have discussed the possibility of acquiring Mets LHP Jon Niese, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
However, Rosenthal believes the Cubs would probably prefer someone better than Niese right now.
In addition, the Cubs interest has dwindled in Niese, and his market does not appear particularly robust at the moment, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Rosenthal opines if the Mets want to move Niese and acquire anything of significance in return from the Cubs, he would have to be part of a larger deal.
The Cubs and Mets could eventually come together on a deal. In fact, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times last month a deal will, “happen at some point,” between the Mets and Cubs and expects to speak with the Mets in the future.
Wittenmyer believes a deal is more likely to involve Javier Baez, who has played some shortstop at Triple-A Iowa this season. In fact, Wittenmyer recently reported the Cubs reached out to the Mets about Baez.
Baez comes with his share of problems, specifically with his high strikeout rate and inability to adjust. He got a cup of coffee last year with the Cubs and showed all of that power potential at this level, but also featured a big, one-dimensional swing which didn’t produce much else. He hasn’t played in the big leagues this year and broke his thumb recently, so maybe the two sides could eventually come to terms on a deal at a reduced cost for the Mets.
There’s no denying Baez is young, has a ton of power potential, has decent speed and could eventually evolve into the transformation bat they seek. The problem is, that may not happen this year.
In addition to the Cubs, Rosenthal said on Sunday afternoon the Dodgers have expressed interest in Niese as well, although no active discussions are ongoing.
Last month, Dodgers President Andrew Friedman said he would be seeking starting pitching in the trade market this summer. Even though they traded Juan Uribe to the Braves, they still have Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins, Hector Olivera, and Alex Guerrero with Corey Seager on the way. So, the Dodgers still have infielders to deal despite shedding their most expensive contract in Uribe.
“Having as many good players as possible not only helps you in constructing your own roster, but allows you the opportunity to have more good players to talk about with other teams,” Friedman explained to reporters in May.
The most appealing of Friedman’s surplus is obviously Guerrero. He’s not particularly young, but he played for a long time in Cuba before defecting and joining the Dodgers as a free agent in 2013. He has shown good power so far this season although he hasn’t walked very much.
His glove seems to be that of a utility infielder: he can play second, shortstop or third, although has yet to play short in the big leagues. He did play a little bit there last season and has experience playing there in Cuba. He’s probably best suited at second base – he’s relatively raw at third and hasn’t played more than seven games at shortstop since 2010. He is owed $21.5 million through 2017 and can opt out of his deal if traded, but if he stays he will only be arbitration eligible when that contract expires and can be controlled through 2021. However, he will be about 32 when he becomes arbitration eligible, which makes the situation a little risky for any interested party.
Alternatively, perhaps Friedman would elect to shop Jimmy Rollins with Seager closing in on his big league debut. Rollins has said the Mets were among his favorites as a landing spot this winter, so he might not be terribly upset if he were moved here. But he’s off to a bad start with at the plate and he has not played well at shortstop, so he might not provide the Mets what they’re looking for in an upgrade right now.
The Dodgers might start out aiming higher in their quest to add starting pitching than what the Mets might be willing to offer. Cole Hamels remains available, albeit at a very high price, according to reports. If that price remains out of touch, perhaps the Dodgers would search the next tier of available pitching, which would make the Mets a theoretical fit for them.
Original post, June 28, 12:07 PM, updated June 28, 2:18 PM, June 29 at 11:15 AM, June 29, 5:20 PM