By Gem Tablak
Last December, we as fans thought we laughed off some unprofessional like comments made by Niese when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for their home grown 2nd baseman, Neil Walker. While Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is known for turning around pitchers careers, they were not able to catch the same luck when it came to Niese. So why should the Mets? Late last year, the Mets had demoted Niese to the bullpen, where he seemed to have a pretty good transition to. When they decided to reacquire him for ex Pirate Antonio Bastardo, it was to be expected that he would fill in the same role he did late last season however with his long track record as a starter, it wouldn’t have been any surprise if he filled in a couple of starts in a few different slots due to all the talks & concerns with innings limitations with a couple of the Mets starting pitchers.
But while with Pittsburgh, as a starter Niese had a 5.13 ERA in 18 starts & now with the Mets he has an ERA of 9.28 in 1 start & 4 relief appearances which averages out his overall ERA to 5.30 in 19 games started & 9 games pitched in relief. While Bastardo was a complete bust with another year on his contract & it most definitely was a positive thing to get his 2017 salary off of the books, it looks like Niese is turning out to be even worse which is forcing the Mets hand to turn to options likes Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, & Gabriel Ynoa in such an important stretch of the season with Matz taking a stint to the DL. So if the Mets have no use for Niese, the Wilpon’s & Alderson should take a note out of the Yankees playbook & cut Niese as soon as possible. Now I know some want to bring up last years relief numbers but one thing we must consider is the lead we had when he did make that transition. Now it’s not like the entire weight of this season is on Niese or any one reliever, but he clearly has a lot less room for error being the Mets are down 4.5 games of the 2nd WC as of 7/22/16. Might be time to cut the cord Sandy,boy.