Talk Of Mets Dealing Niese Absurd
Anybody who believes the Mets are serious about trading Jon Niese is either: a) nuts, b) misinformed, c) clueless, or d) all of the above.
I’ve heard reports the Mets will trade either R.A. Dickey or Niese in their effort to acquire a power-hitting outfielder.
They seem almost desperate in their attempts to trade Dickey, but Niese isn’t going anywhere for a multitude of reasons.
Although Niese’s career high is 13 victories, he’s more potential than production at age 26. He’s young, left-handed, throws hard, has had success on the major league level, but most importantly, is inexpensive considering the market.
Niese, in one of the few smart contract moves we’ve seen from the Mets in recent years, is signed to a five-year, $21.5 million contract. In short, the total value of his deal is less than what the Mets are reportedly willing to pay Dickey.
If Niese were in the NFL or NBA, he’d be holding out this spring. As it is, he’s locked in through 2016 with club options for 2017 and 2018.
In looking at the big picture for the Mets, Niese has more value than Dickey, and assuming he stays healthy and continues to improve, he’ll be here longer than the three years Dickey originally sought. If things progress, the Mets will have won the first Niese contract.
For all their talk about pitching depth, the Mets have issues that seem to be ignored by GM Sandy Alderson that can’t be overshadowed no matter how big a bat they get.
Yes, there’s a lot to like about Matt Harvey, but his showcase window is small. Ten games won’t make him Don Drysdale, no matter how impressive he was in that span. A bright future? Yes. A proven commodity? No.
This is Johan Santana’s last year with the Mets. Regardless of how well he pitches, he’ll be gone by 2014, and it looks the same for Dickey. That’s two holes in five spots. Any guess on how they’ll be filled?
Dillon Gee is coming off an injury and is unproven, as is, ironically enough, Niese. But, of those projected to be in the rotation after 2013, Niese would be the de facto ace as he’s shown the most in his short window. There’s an upside to Niese, but the fact remains he could be their No. 1 starter despite his limited resume.
So, if the Mets trade who will arguably be their best pitcher in the future for a power bat, how does that make them better than they are now?
Pitching is more important than power. Always has been; always will be. If it was my money, I’d keep Niese, pay Dickey what he wants, and look at signing a bat next winter as it is clear they won’t spend for one now. If the choice is Scott Hairston or Cody Ross, the Mets should hang onto their pitching and try again later.
It’s not as if they expect to win this year, right?
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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