October 14, 2013

Who Should The Mets Move? Jon Niese or Dillon Gee

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
With the New York Mets set to enter the trade market this winter, they are going to have to trade something to get something.  If there is one area of strength within the organization, it is starting pitching, but the Mets don't seem eager to go down that path just yet.

Even prior to his need for Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey was going to be untouchable.  The same likely goes for Alderson's star acquisition to date, Zack Wheeler, and the team's front office has stated it will not part with top prospect, Noah Syndergaard.  If those three aren't available, teams will have to look at the Mets only remaining Major League caliber offerings: Jon Niese and/or Dillon Gee.

If I had to chose, I would say that Jon Niese has the higher ceiling of the two.  The only lefty in the Mets rotation for much of the season, he remains under contract through at least the 2016 season with team options for both 2017 and 2018.  At minimum he's owed only $21 million over the next three seasons.  When in control of his pitches, Niese has a good fastball and an excellent curveball.  However, the issue with Jon remains health as he pitched only 143 innings last year and seems to often battle fatigue issues throughout the year.  Despite never having a major arm ailment, this may be a red flag to inquiring minds.

Dillon Gee is a different kind of pitcher.  Despite leading the Mets with twelve wins in 2013, Gee would probably be shopped as a young, consistent back of the rotation arm who has gotten better each of the past three seasons.  Like Niese, Gee remains under team control through 2016, as he is just entering his first arbitration eligible year right now.  That likely makes him a cheaper option than Jon.  Furthermore, with the exception of a circulatory issue in his throwing arm in 2012, Gee has been much more dependable from an injury standpoint.

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
Each pitcher has their upsides, with both having the capabilities to impact the starting rotation wherever they hypothetically land.  I have been a big defender of Niese, as I have long believed he had the stuff to be an ace at the Major League level, but he just doesn't have the consistency to put it together.  Gee on the other hand is what he is, a #4 starter at best who you can be certain is going to give you six or so effective innings every time he takes the mound.  There is a ton of value in that!

I suppose what I'm saying is that I would prefer to see the Mets part with Jon Niese at this point if I had to chose between the two.  I think the fact that he is a lefty with a higher ceiling may make him more attractive on the trade market.  Along with the fact that the acquiring team could have him under their wing for as many as five years at a reasonable price also serves him well.

For everything he does well, I just think Niese remains the bigger question mark for the Mets between the two.  His seemingly repetitive trips to the disabled list make me wonder if a major arm event is in the cards going forward.  The Mets have too many of those to navigate as it is, and while Dillon Gee could just as easily fall victim to the same fate, the writing appears to be on the wall for Niese. 

Whether either gets traded or where they might end up remains to be seen, however each of the Blue Jays, Rockies and Red Sox have had interest in Niese in the past.  Each of those teams have players that the Mets should be interested in this winter.  Does that mean anything at this point?  I don't know, but if it were my decision to make Jon Niese is the man I move this winter.

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

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