Last we learned that the Mets were close to giving Jon Niese an extension on his current contract.The Mets have now made it official. The deal is worth five years, $25.5 million dollars with team options for 2017 and 2018 that could bring the total value to $46 million.
I think the Mets made a mistake are to sign Niese to an extension this soon. I don’t understand why this front office would rush to sign a pitcher who is still under team control for another three years, and one who has never pitched 200 innings in a season, or posted an ERA under 4.20, or had a winning record. What was the big rush?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Niese. I think he has a lot of potential, and back when there were some trade rumors surrounding him this past winter, I was 100% against the thought of trading the young left-hander. That said, Niese has yes to convinced me that he’s worth that kind of financial commitment.
For starters he has never pitched over 173 innings in his short career. During his last ten starts in 2010, Niese became physically exhausted and struggled mightily. His struggles were attributed to poor conditioning and he finished the season with a 9-10 record.
Last year, Niese was inconsistent and very unimpressive at times. He finished the season on the disabled list with a ribcage injury and wound up with a record of 11-11 and a 4-40 in 157.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters batted .286 against him.
Niese, 25, has also shown that he has trouble staying healthy. In 2009 Niese completely tore his hamstring. In 2010, he missed even more time after suffering another hamstring injury in a game against the Marlins. Last year, was the third consecutive season Niese missed significant time due to injury. I’m worried that this trend will continue since Niese has yet to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season.
I understand this extension buys out a couple of arbitration years and one year of free agency, but Niese has not yet risen to a level that would warrant such a significant deal – the largest deal Alderson had dished out sine becoming GM.
It might have been more prudent and a wiser decision to simply wait until the end of this current season to see if Niese improves his performance on the mound, and prove that he can play a full season without getting hurt.
Hopefully, this won’t come back to bite the Mets.