With the division race becoming a little more clearer in recent weeks, one thing remains the same: contenders are still searching for starting pitching. One club that still has plenty of starting pitching is the New York Mets. With their rotation slowly being handed over to a younger crop of pitchers, they are beginning to look at dealing some of their veterans. One of their veteran trade pieces is veteran left-hander Jon Niese. Teams that are in the thick of their division race such as the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly interested in trading for him, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The veteran lefty is an interesting trade piece. He’s not a flamethrower by any means and is so far going through a sub-par season. He has tossed 83 innings and has posted a 4.12 ERA across 14 starts with a high 2.9 BB/9 ratio. Despite his underwhelming numbers, he has a career ERA of 3.89 and has a track record to show he is a better pitcher than he has shown so far this season. He is also under team control through 2016 with two club options and is due $7MM this season, $9MM in 2016, and $10MM in 2017 with a $500K buyout option. His contract isn’t cheap but compared to the inflated pitching contracts being handed out lately, that is a bargain for many teams. He could easily serve as a solid back-of-the-rotation pitcher for any contending team as he is capable of eating innings as well. He has become the odd man out in the rotation as the Mets have called up top pitching prospect lefty Steven Matz to join their rotation.
Niese makes sense for both the Dodgers and Cubs. The Dodgers have lost two-fifths of their starting rotation due to injury and are using internal options currently to fill those holes but are most certainly in the market for a veteran pitcher to help fill out the back of the rotation and give them a more proven option. The Cubs are also in the market for a No.5 pitcher as they are contending for a postseason berth for the first time in a long time. Both clubs have strong farm systems and have plenty of young prospects that could entice the Mets to deal him. Seeing as Niese is under long-term control, the Mets would presumably want talent that is either already or near the MLB level.