The New York Mets may have missed out on Ben Zobrist, but they didn’t take long to find a Plan B. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets have acquired INF Neil Walker from the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jon Niese. Talks between the two teams have reportedly been going on for a day or two. The deal is pending medical reviews.
Walker, 30, has been one of the National League’s most underrated infielders for a few years. He doesn’t put up flashy offensive numbers, but he’s still an effective player. He hit 16 homers and 71 RBI in 2015, contributing to another postseason birth for the Bucs. He goes to Citi Field and will replace 2015 NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy at second base.
Niese, 29, is a better acquisition than it looks. He goes to Pittsburgh and gets to learn under the best pitching coach in the majors, Ray Searage. Niese went 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA, and was dealt because there would be no spot for him when Zack Wheeler returns for injury. The Pirates need pitching, so this deal works for both sides. Niese throws a 89-92 MPH four seamer, 89-91 MPH two seamer, a 87-89 MPH cutter, 73-77 MPH curveball, and a 83-86 MPH changeup. He uses all five pitches against right handed batters, but tends to lay off the two seamer and cutter against left handers and in two strike counts.