Assessing the Neil Walker/Jon Niese Deal

By Jason Shetler

After 11 years in the Pirates organization, Neil Walker was dealt to the New York Mets on Wednesday for veteran lefty Jon Niese. Here now is my assessment of the trade.

With the retirement of A.J. Burnett, as well as J.A. Happ signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Pirates entered the Winter Meetings looking for a #3 starter as one of their main needs. Reports had ranged from the Pirates talking with Scott Kazmir’s representatives to having discussions about the Angels C.J. Wilson. The Mets were looking to fill a spot at second base with Daniel Murphy being a free agent, and their top target Ben Zobrist signing with the Chicago Cubs.

The Mets have a deep surplus of starting pitching, which likely meant they were going to part ways with one of them for the right deal. Since they needed to replace Murphy, and with the Pirates needing rotation help, the Walker/Niese deal was made. Walker can provide the offense that Murphy had given them. From the Pirates perspective, Niese is someone who has profiled as a good mid-rotation starter for most of his career. Walker didn’t have as good a season in 2015 as he did the year before, so it’s not like the Pirates were going to get a big overhaul for him. In Niese’s situation, he has a club option worth $10 million for 2017, so if were to pitch well next season, the Pirates can bring him back for another year. At the end of the day, the Pirates and Mets were able to fill important needs, which makes it a fair deal for both sides.






One thought on “Assessing the Neil Walker/Jon Niese Deal

  1. 10 million a year is a bit too big given the Pirates’ economics, so I understand why they would look at dealing him. They would also be able to fit Kang in the infield more easily. However, I still think that Walker’s offense would trump anyone middle infielder on the roster or in free agency.

    I absolutely hate this from the Orioles perspective. It makes no sense unless they plan on trading Schoop. And getting rid of him would be a waste considering he’s virtually the only talent that Baltimore has successfully managed to cultivate from their farm system.

    Maybe they were talking more about a trade for Alvarez, considering the O’s lack of first basemen (does anyone really believe that Angelos would let the team pony up for Davis and sign a good starter?).

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