After a disabled list stint with shoulder issues last season and a spring training that’s already been plagued by shoulder weakness and now an elbow issue, the long term future of Jon Niese can start to be questioned. Is this the beginning of a chronic issue that will plague him for the rest of his career or is this just a blip on the radar?
This is the reason that players sign the kind of contract that Niese signed in April of 2012. The Mets and Niese agreed to a 5 year, $25.5 million contract that ran thorough the 2016 season with two team options for 2017 ($10 million) and 2018 for ($10.5 million) and $500,000 buyouts for each season.
Both sides had to weigh the risk/reward factors. Niese would give up the opportunity to potentially make millions more in arbitration and eventually free agency were he to become a solid innings eater/top tier pitcher and stay healthy for the entire ride. The Mets would get a very team friendly deal. but would run the risk of owing millions to a pitcher who breaks down or not meet expectations.
By signing the team friendly contract, Niese is financially secure and can focus on being the best pitcher he can possibly be. He may be leaving potential money on the table, but should his body break down (and it’s beginning to look as if it might be), he protects himself.
By offering him the guaranteed money at what could be below market value, the Mets had the opportunity to lock down what could be a rotation linchpin for years to come.
Sometimes the player looks like the smart one. Sometimes the team looks like the smart one. Remember David Wright‘s first long term contract?)
Right now, Niese is probably very relieved he signed that contract. Dealing with the uncertainty of injury is hard enough, especially in a profession where your entire future can change on one pitch.