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Mets trade rumors: Dodgers, Cubs interested in Jon Niese

Ken Rosenthal reports that two clubs could be interested in the Mets' left-handed starter.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a problem all year, albeit a good problem to have: The Mets have too many starting pitchers. There were five, with Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in Triple-A. Then Thor was in New York and there were six. Then Dillon Gee was in Las Vegas and there were five. Then Matz debuted and there were six again. Too much math and too many pitchers. But there could be hope on the horizon... or at least some stability.

In a video on Saturday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said that the Chicago Cubs have expressed interest in left-handed starter Jonathon Niese, although they "probably would prefer someone better." In 14 starts this year, Niese has gone 3-7 with a 4.12 ERA, 4.38 FIP, and 1.518 WHIP. However, he's fared substantially better in his last four appearances, he's had a 3.46 ERA, and a 1.385 WHIP.

The Chicago Cubs have a glut of shortstops: Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Starlin Castro have all taken turns as the Cubs' shortstop of the future. The Mets could sorely use a competent shortstop, but Rosenthal said the only way that will happen in a trade with Chicago would be to include Niese as part of a package.

The Cubs, who come into town on Tuesday, will have a first-hand look at the left-handed pitcher in the series opener; they beat Niese earlier in the season.

Adding to the rumors, Rosenthal also reported yesterday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking at Niese. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, long-hated by Mets fans for his time with the Phillies would present an interesting option in return: He's been terrible at the plate this year (.211/.265/.333), but that likely also drops the return the Dodgers could ask for. After years of seeing him in Philadelphia red, Mets fans also know that Rollins can successfully man shortstop with ease, even if he's slowed down a step or two over the years.

Other than his questionable record this season, Niese's contract will also likely cause trade candidates to hesitate: He's due $7 million this season and $9 million in 2016, with a $10 million team option for 2017 and $11 million team option for 2018.