Is Trading Jon Niese For Cliff Lee A Good Move?

An article by posted on June 16, 2010

According to this recent post on MetsBlog.com, Matt Cerrone hears that the Mets and Mariners have been talking about a trade for Cliff Lee who is a free agent at the end of this season.

Jon Niese seems to be the one player that the Mariners insist on in any potential deal for their ace involving the Mets.

I’m not too sure how to feel about trading Jon Niese…

On the one hand, looking at it for just this season, the Mets get a Cy Young caliber pitcher who would significantly strengthen the Mets’ chances at a post season run all the way to the World Series. It would be very hard to pass up an opportunity like this, even if it meant trading a decent prospect like Niese.

On the other hand, Jon Niese is vital to the team right now, because we are desperate for pitching and he seems like a better long range option than Dickey, Takahashi or Maine at this point. There’s comfort in knowing that we can rely on Niese for a solid start every five days more often than not. But let’s not get too carried away and forget that he is projected by most scouts to be nothing more than a number three or four type pitcher. That said, I always place a little extra premium on young southpaws like Niese.

One thing everyone seems to forget is that Cliff Lee will be a Class A free agent at the end of the season.

That means that if Lee decides to move on at the end of the season, the Mets would get two first round picks as compensation from the team he ends up signing with. The signing team’s first round pick plus a supplemental pick after the first round. It makes the loss of Lee easier to swallow.

So in other words the worst case scenario is that you traded Niese, a seventh round draft pick, for two first rounders, but you rented the services of a dominating ace who could be the difference in making it to the post season or not.

Strictly to make a point, Ike Davis and Mike Pelfrey were both first round picks for the Minaya led Mets. And another thing to consider is how bad Cliff Lee would like to stick it the Phillies for trading him in the offseason.

Oh and one more thing, there is a slight chance that Lee might actually re-sign with the Mets too, you just never know. Remember, Mike Piazza also swore that he would test free agency before signing on to stay with the Mets.

Currently, Cliff Lee is 4-3, but with a 2.88 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. In 68 innings pitched he has allowed just 60 hits and walked only an unbelievable four batters all season long. He has struck out 60 batters and they are only batting .228 against the big lefthander. He is simply amazing and one of the most absolute dominating pitchers in the game.

Would you trade Jon Niese for Cliff Lee to increase the Mets odds of winning the division, going to the playoffs and having a chance for a third World Series victory for the Mets?

Or do you keep Niese and keep your fingers crossed that Oliver Perez and John Maine return to form and carry the Mets to the post season?

I’m leaning toward going after Lee…

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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