As the Mets look for ways to improve their roster heading into next year, its become apparent that their shoestring budget will force them into the trade market. There are a million ways that could play out, but some people have their ideas. For instance, I think the pertinent play would be for the Mets to shop RA Dickey in an effort to fill their outfield and/or catching needs. That, however, isn’t the only line of thought. On multiple occasions since the close of the season, MetsBlog‘s head honcho, Matt Cerrone, has indicated that the Mets could look to package Jonathan Niese with Lucas Duda in an effort to bring in an impact bat this winter. Not a crazy statement, however the one shown below, which Cerrone made during his commentary on a post regarding teams that could show interest in Dickey this winter flat out scares me.
“…if there is no hope with Dickey returning, the Mets might choose to trade him (and keep Niese) for prospects to help down the road… plus they’d add back Dickey’s $5 million in to the available budget. I think it’s one or the other, though, not both.”
I realize that with the possible exception of David Wright, Jon Niese and RA Dickey are probably the team’s most marketable players, but at what point did it become one or the other? Furthermore, it frightens me that the Mets could opt to trade a twenty-six year old leftie, whose shown progress on an annual basis, is coming off of the best season of his career and is currently signed to an amazingly team friendly contract, instead of trading what will amount to be a more expensive, nearly forty year old knuckleball pitcher with no history of success. If it has to be one or the other, certainly the Mets have to keep Niese, right?
Bear in mind I’m not saying that Matt is incorrect. As someone who has much more access than myself, I’m inclined to give his insight the benefit of the doubt. I just don’t see how there can be much debate. To be perfectly honest, I realize that one of them has to go if the Mets are going to add a quality outfielder with a power bat. I’ll even go as far as admitting that Niese’s youth, when combined with the aforementioned team friendly contract may make him more valuable on the trade market than Dickey, but as he prepares to enter his fourth full season, Niese has the potential to anchor one of the youngest (and most exciting) rotations in baseball with the eventual departure of Johan Santana.
With a contract in place that would keep Jon Niese in Queens through the 2018 season at no more than $11M annually, how on earth could the Mets consider trading him away. Niese may never have a twenty win season, he may never win the Cy Young and he may never be an “ace”, but for a front office that has stressed value contracts, this has to be a no brainer. I’m sorry..I love RA Dickey and all the unique things he brings to the table, but if it can’t be both, it has to be Niese.
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