Morning Mets Notes: Mets Could Have Traded Jonathon Niese instead of R.A. Dickey

By Matt Musico

In a report for the NY Daily News, Andy Martino reported the New York Mets could have held onto R.A. Dickey this winter if they really wanted to. However, if Sandy Alderson still wanted to acquire Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard from the Toronto Blue Jays, he would have had to offer up Jonathon Niese. It’s a little late now to talk about the “could haves” in this situation, but I don’t find it surprising that Alderson decided to trade away the 38-year-old knuckler instead of the 26-year-old lefty coming off his best overall season in the Bigs.

Throughout the winter, we knew the Mets wouldn’t be making major improvements to the organization via free agency, so the only other option would be through trades. We also knew that the only real area of depth in the organization was in their starting pitching. The two most tradeable candidates in the Major League starting rotation were Jonathon Niese and R.A. Dickey. Like I said, Niese is coming off his best overall season as a Big Leaguer (with an incredibly team friendly extension through 2016), while the knuckler was still trying to let his NL Cy Young Award sink in.

March 01, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (49) throws in the spring training game against the Detroit Tigers at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

New York had plenty of leverage when it came to trade discussions for either of these hurlers, and even though Niese’s name came up a lot in rumors, when it came down to actually talking trades, his name was rarely brought up. We found out through Martino’s report that the Jays have liked Niese for a while, and would have done the trade in a heartbeat if it included the southpaw. However, with the future in mind and a rebuilding process about to be thrown into overdrive with the completion of this deal, there was no way Alderson would trade away Niese, who is already under contract,  for that haul of prospects, especially when Dickey (not signed to an extension) could be dealt for the same price. It was really a no-brainer here, and even though I was very sad to see our beloved knuckler head out of town, I only wanted him traded for those “difference makers” Sandy spoke of, which he made sure of.

Danny Abriano supplied all the news and notes to come out of PSL yesterday, as there were plenty of updates on injured players. Although he had to fly up to New York to get his thyroid checked out, Jenrry Mejia was cleared to once again begin baseball activity. Zack Wheeler threw off a mound for the first time since his oblique injury, and Adam Rubin was able to snap a picture of the top prospect doing so. Frank Francisco is hoping to experience some progress, as he’s expected to get on the mound for his first ‘pen of the spring tomorrow.

Everything was clicking for the Amazins yesterday, as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins. Matt Harvey struck out five hitters over 4.1 no-hit innings, and only needed 45 pitches (38 strikes) to get through his outing. Collectively, New York threw a two-hitter, carrying a shutout into the ninth. Get your Rising Apple recap right here.

In case you missed the 10th episode of The Rising Apple Report, you can catch up with it right here. What did Danny, Dan Haefeli, and Sam Maxwell talk about for a half-hour? How not having David Wright in camp is a good thing, whether or not Marlon Byrd should be playing center field consistently (he shouldn’t, by the way), and they dug into the roots of their Mets fandom. I can’t tell you anymore, because then I would ruin the surprise.

The Mets are going on a little road trip to play the Detroit Tigers today, and first pitch is scheduled for 1:05p.

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