Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger believes Mets lefthander Jon Niese could be a valuable trade piece for Sandy Alderson this winter citing that the team is deep in starting pitching and that they may need to deal an established player for multiple prospects in order to improve.
Throughout the industry, opposing clubs have taken notice — which makes Niese an intriguing figure in what could be a tumultuous offseason for the Mets. 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 said. “Some people see him a little bit like where they saw Gio Gonzalez last year.”
“You’re looking at about two or three prospects (for Niese),” one executive said. “At least.”
I could see Alderson strongly considering dealing Niese this offseason. He promised wholesale changes this offseason and we know that A) He has no money to acquire any significant or impact player, and B) He has repeatedly stated he won’t part with any of the team’s top prospects.
After some serious prodding during a WFAN interview, Alderson even admitted that those wholesale changes would come via trades and not through free agency.
Last week I said that the Mets’ three most valuable trade chips are David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese. There is no team out there that will be banging down the doors for the likes of Josh Thole, Mike Baxter, Jason Bay or Lucas Duda. One dimensional players like that are a dime a dozen. So unless the Mets GM was blowing smoke, somethings gotta give and moving Niese is certainly something they will consider if they aren’t already.
Niese, 25, is currently sporting a career best 3.55 ERA and 1.170 WHIP, and in 165 innings pitched he has struck out 138 while walking 41 over 26 starts this season.
It would be the same sort of deal like Alderson’s protege Billy Beane pulled off when he traded 24-year old Trevor Cahill.
Personally, I would hate to see Niese (or Dickey and Wright for that matter) go. But who else are these trade chips he’s using to make these wholesale changes he talked about, that has so many fans convinced he was being honest and forthcoming about having a vastly improved product on the field for the 2013 season?