Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jon Niese's availability for trade

I haven't been a close follower of Jon Niese's career, but I did read a little bit about him going into this year, after he threw some nice innings in spring training. Baseball Prospectus, in the print version I believe, called him the Mets' best lefty pitching prospect, but added in characteristically smarmy fashion that it said more about the Mets farm system than Niese.

Ed at Mets Fever sees that his most recent outing (a 7 inning shutout) was well attended by scouts, raising the possibility of his inclusion in a trade. But Ed is wary about giving away a pitcher who may be ready for the rotation next year, given the thinness of our pitching staff:

While Bay, Nady, or Holliday would be great, we could have three rotation holes to fill and only one starting pitching prospect almost ready for the majors. Any top level player will cost left handed starter Jon Niese who could be in the rotation next year if he isn't traded.

I'm not even sure how great Bay or especially Nady would be, but Holliday is the kind of guy you don't sweat some B-level prospect over. I hadn't even been aware of the rumor, so I looked it up and, per Dom D, Jerry Manuel expressed an interest in having him (duh) about a week ago, but today Joel Sherman comes along and dashes my hopes. Apparently the Rockies are aware of how good Holliday is and want more than the Mets would be able to part with.

But in general, as much as I love young homegrown talent, I'm not at all convinced Niese is good enough to be considered untouchable. He's 21, and he's been pretty good at Double-A (110.2 IP, 5 HR, 40 BB, 97 K, 3.05 ERA), which is nice, so don't flip him for Xavier Nady. But if he's the lynchpin of a deal for a Matt Holliday-type corner outfielder, Omar needs to do the damn thing.

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