UPDATE (June 29, 2:20 p.m. PT): According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Jon Niese is one of multiple pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers have interest in, and they aren’t currently holding trade talks with the New York Mets:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 29, 2015
Niese last started June 23 when he allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers; Niese didn’t earn a decision in the Mets’ loss. The left-hander’s next scheduled start is Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.
While Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias both stepped in admirably to fill the void left by season-ending injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has held adding starting pitch depth remains a top priority.
That point has been further emphasized as the success for Bolsinger and Frias has tailed off in their recent outings. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, one option the Dodgers have interest in is New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 28, 2015
As Rosenthal notes, the Chicago Cubs are also interested in the left-hander. Niese, 28, was selected by the Mets in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. He’s 3-7 with a 4.12 ERA, 92 ERA+, 1.52 WHIP, 4.39 FIP and 3.85 xFIP in 14 starts this season. He has 58 strikeouts to 27 walks in 83 innings pitched, good for a 2.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio; down from 3.07 last season.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson recently identified upgrading a struggling offense as a point of emphasis. After a 20-11 start to the season, the Mets went on a five-game losing streak and have hovered around .500 as multiple players suffered injury. They were 38-37 heading into play Sunday.
Niese is earning $7 million this season and is owed $9 million in 2016. His contract also includes a $10 million team option for 2017 and an $11 million team option for 2018. Both team-option years also include a $500,000 buyout.
By being under contract next season Niese conceivably would provide some insurance to a staff that will be without McCarthy as he still recovers from Tommy John surgery and may not include Brett Anderson, who is signed to a one-year deal.
It was previously reported the Dodgers compiled a list of top-flight starting pitching targets with Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann the club’s preferred choice.