In 26 starts for the Mets this year, 25-year-old LHP Jon Niese is 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA.
According to Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger, “Baseball officials outside the organization believe Niese could elicit a quality return on the trade market.”
“People would be interested in (Niese) because he’s a starter who some people see as a No. 3,” one executive told McCullough. “Some people see him a little bit like where they saw Gio Gonzalez last year.”
Niese could net at least two or three prospects, a second executive said.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The Mets aren’t trading Niese for prospects, at least the way I recall hearing it a few months ago in advance of the trade deadline. I suspect the same will ring true this winter, as it I know it was also the case last winter when Toronto was eager to bring in Niese (but not for their top, major-league ready catching prospect). The point is, if the Mets move Niese, it will be for an established, young, under-control position player, and not necessarily a basket of unproven players who are years away from the big-league roster. They already have enough people like that. What they need is a starting outfielder…
The way I understand it, the D-Backs want a big-league, affordable, reliable, front-end starting pitcher for OF Justin Upton, who is due roughly $35 million over the next three years. Niese is due $24 million over the next four years, after which he makes significantly more in 2017 and 2018, but each season also has a $500,000 buyout. It’s a good deal. I was told last summer that a deal for Upton would need start with Niese, as the D-Backs are also not looking to move their top outfielder for prospects, but for a pitcher who can help now and beyond.
I have no idea if these two teams will discuss a deal like this in a month or two. If they do, I’m not yet sure I’d even pull the trigger. But, I do know the Mets are in desperate need of real, proven talent in their outfield, with not much on the horizon. Also, as good as Niese has been, the Mets have Matt Harvey and a decent crop of young starting pitchers knocking on Citi Field’s door. If the Mets sign Dickey to an extension, they need to least consider something like swapping Niese for a new, legitimate bat for the outfield, because I don’t know how else they get one.