The Mets have reacquired left-hander Jon Niese from the Pirates, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (on Twitter). Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that lefty Antonio Bastardo is going back to the Pirates (Twitter link). Both teams have announced the move, and Pittsburgh notes that they’re receiving cash considerations from the Mets in the deal.
The swap of left-handers reunites each southpaw with his 2015 team, as Niese spent his entire career prior to the 2016 campaign in Queens and Bastardo pitched for the Bucs last season. Pittsburgh picked up Niese in what now looks to be an ill-fated swap that netted the Mets Neil Walker, while Bastardo inked a two-year, $12MM contract with the Mets. Neither pitcher has performed up to his standards, though, with Niese posting a 4.91 ERA and briefly losing his spot in the rotation and Bastardo logging a similar 4.74 ERA in 43 2/3 innings of relief.
Niese posted a 4.13 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in New York last season, while Bastardo had a 2.98 ERA, 10.0 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 last year in Pittsburgh. The trade seems to suggest an optimism on the part of their old teams that the flaws the two players showed this year (a vanishing strikeout rate and home-run problems in Niese’s case; control and home-run problems in Bastardo’s) might be painted over. Niese is making $9MM this season, plus a $500K buyout on his 2017 option. Bastardo, who will rejoin the Pirates’ bullpen, is under contract through 2017, when he’ll receive $6.5MM. He’s making $5.25MM this year.