Aug 15, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
After the losses of AJ Burnett to retirement and J.A. Happ to free agency the Pirates were looking for a number three starter for their rotation. They found it when they traded Neil Walker to the New York Mets for veteran Jon Niese.
Niese is coming off of his worst season since 2010 going 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA for the New York Mets. He went six innings or more in 18 of his 29 starts last season while striking out a total of 113 batters.
While many Pirates fans did not like this trade, I was in the minority who actually did. Since becoming a full time starter for the Mets, Niese has never thrown less than 143.0 innings in a season. Niese will be able to eat up a considerable number of innings in the number three spot of the rotation.
Niese is a guy with postseason experience coming into help solidify a Pirates rotation in need of some consistency. Niese reminds me of a Paul Maholm, a guy who can eat innings for the Pirates while giving them quality starts and keeping them in the ball game.
The Pirates bullpen was overworked last season and still had the second lowest ERA in all of baseball.
If Niese can come in and eat alot of innings, the bullpen will get more rest and could be more effective in the 2016 season. If Niese continues the consistency he has shown over his career of being a .500 pitcher who can eat innings, he could be a big pick up for the Pirates.
My predictions for Niese in 2016 are a 10-10 record with a 3.65 ERA. Niese will by no means match up to a number one or two starter, but he can be a good middle of the rotation guy that the Pirates can rely on.
Next: Ryan Voglesong