New York Mets Acquire Jon Niese Minutes Before Deadline

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

After acquiring Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Mets set their sights on acquiring another arm to add for their potential playoff run.

In a busy day for the New York Mets that involved trading for Jay Bruce, having the trade fall through because of medical reasons, fixing the deal, then missing out on the Jonathan Lucroy sweepstakes, the trade deadline came and passed for another year. But, right before the clock struck 4:00 P.M., the Mets made a second deal in hopes of making another playoff push.

The Mets acquired a familiar face, sending reliever Antonio Bastardo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-hander Jon Niese.

Niese was originally traded this past offseason, as the Mets acquired second baseman Neil Walker shortly after utility man Ben Zobrist announced he would sign with the Chicago Cubs. In 23 games, 18 being starts, Niese is 8-6 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.

However, since being moved to the bullpen, Niese has found much more success, throwing 8.1 innings of two-run ball over five appearances. When he joins New York, Niese will presumably move back into the rotation, with Logan Verrett going back into the bullpen.

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Verrett has filled in for the injured Matt Harvey, who will miss the rest of the season. He has a 4.12 ERA over 27 games, nine of which were starts.

Niese spent his first eight seasons in the majors with New York, making 182 appearances, 177 of them starts. He has a career 3.91 ERA and 7.0 K/9 rate in blue and orange.

Whether he continues to pitch out of the bullpen (like he has in Pittsburgh) or becomes the team’s fifth starter, the Mets hope their trade deadline acquisitions will help the team emulate a playoff run similar to that of 2015.

The Mets sit at 54-50, in third place in the National League East and 6.5 games behind the Washington Nationals. While that seems difficult to overcome, the team is just 2.5 games out of the Wild Card race, now held by the division rival Miami Marlins.

As for the Pirates, the team had shopped Niese for some time now. Bastardo has struggled thus far, posting a 4.74 ERA over 41 appearances. However, Bastardo was a member of the Pirates in 2015, having arguably his second best season in the majors, posting a sub-3.00 ERA and striking out 10.0 batters per nine.

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This move is minor and will likely not make a huge impact on the outcome of either team’s season, but Niese and Bastardo are both comfortable with their ‘new’ teams’ clubhouses and management.