Why Not Niese?
When the trade deadline came and went without the Mets making even a minor move to improve the team, the explanation was that they were not going to trade a few prospects for “rental” players.
Never mind that “rental” Ken Griffey would have come dirt cheap, nor that Manny Ramirez would have been worth any package the Mets had to offer. And never mind that the only trade Omar Minaya was referring to by that excuse was the outrageous demands by the Mariners for Raul Ibanez.
Put all that aside for a moment, and pretend that the Mets really didn’t make a move because they believe that the youngsters in the organization have a future not worth mortgaging for a key veteran.
If that indeed is the case, then we should EXPECT to see Jonathan Niese on the big league roster before the end of the season. Moreover, we should expect to see Niese make key starts down the stretch. After all, he isn’t Philip Humber, who was brought up merely so he could see the Empire State Building and taste a real New York bagel. The Mets have positioned Niese as the top pitching prospect in their organization, and identified him as an “untouchable”. If he’s all that, then he has to be summoned from the minors to help the big club — now.
The Mets acknowledge as much, and there were hints that he’d make his Major League debut this weekend. However, that plan was put on the shelf, and instead we’ll see re-tread Claudio Vargas make a start against the Marlins. The “logic” behind this decision is that the Marlins have a righty-heavy lineup, led by Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Josh Willingham, and new Mets killer Cody Ross.
There’s just one little problem with that logic: the Marlins are hitting .235 against lefthanded pitchers this season — a full 20 points below their total average against all pitchers. Of their 543 runs and 155 homers this season, they’ve scored only 138 and hit only 37 four-baggers against southpaws. So either the Mets need to hire someone to check the stat sheets, or they’re full of baloney.
Personally, I don’t think Niese is ready for big-league action. But the Mets’ decision to hold the status quo through July 31 established that Niese would be fast-tracked to MLB as soon as possible. So let’s see it happen.