Mets say Jon Niese available in trades, but not being shopped

The Mets are willing to move Jonathon Niese if the right deal presents itself. Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The New York Mets have made it clear that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are off-limits in trade talks this winter. And they have no real intention of moving Zack Wheeler, either, as he nears a return from Tommy John surgery.

However, the Mets have no similar hesitance to trade left-hander Jonathon Niese if the right deal comes along.

Niese is signed for next season at $9 million. There then are team options at $10 million for 2017 and $11 million for 2018.

"We haven’t been actively shopping him, but other than the four guys [Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz], we’re going to be looking for ways to improve the team,” Ricco said. “If there’s a deal that involves him and makes us better, I think we would definitely consider it.”

Niese went 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA in 33 appearances (29 starts) for the Mets this past season.

How would the Mets’ offset the departure of Niese in the rotation until Wheeler’s expected return in June or July?

“We do feel good about where Rafael Montero is health-wise, and I think he’d be a candidate for that,” Ricco said. “But we have other guys that we like. Sean Gilmartin has started in the past, and I think he’s shown he can get major league hitters out. So he’d be another consideration. And then we have some other young pitchers who would be in the mix there.”