The Pirates have traded left-handed pitcher Jon Niese back to the Mets, according to Jon Heyman.

And if that’s not funny enough, the Pirates confirmed the move, saying they got Antonio Bastardo from the Mets.

Bastardo was signed for two years and $12 M last off-season by the Mets. He’s owed $6.5 M in 2017, and the remainder of his $5.2 M for this season. The Pirates will owe about $1.8 M of that salary, putting their total at about $8.3 M for one year and two months of Bastardo. The downside to this is that Bastardo has struggled this year, with a 4.74 ERA and a 4.72 xFIP. His issue has been with home runs, with a 14.8% HR/FB ratio (it’s been 5.1-5.6% the previous two years, and 8% in his career).

If the Pirates can get Bastardo back on track, then this would be a huge deal. Niese wasn’t helping them, and Bastardo could be much better out of the bullpen. The Pirates shed about $3.1 M from Niese’s salary, plus his $500,000 buyout in 2017.

The Pirates also acquired cash considerations, so it’s possible that the amount could help even out the deal in terms of money. Otherwise, the Pirates are taking on about $5 M in salary in the deal.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. I like this deal a lot as it gives us 3 power lefties in pen. The Liriano trade is a disaster though. It would have been fine if it was Liriano and Ramirez, but McGuire a big overpay just to shed salary.

    • McGuire can’t hit AAA pitching, and he is behind Diaz, and of course, Cervelli, on the depth chart

  2. Just beyond stupid day. No support for TBMTIB today or for remaining year sorry NH has officially pissed me off.

  3. At the end of the day we traded Neal Walker and Mark Melancon for Bastardo, Rivero and Hearns. That NH is a genius!!

    • I never got the infatuation with walker. He’s batting .250 with a career low OPS despite 16 homeruns. Has no range at 2b and is aging.

      • Agree, although this is a pretty average OPS year (.761) for Walker. He had two very good seasons in the 800 range but the rest have all hovered around the 740 to 760 range. His lifetime OPS is .768 which is slitly above average for a 2B. He does have feet of stone …

  4. Do any of these trades make the Pirates better this year? No. Trading away Niese was fine, in that it should have created a spot for a young arm…but nope- that young arm will now be blocked by a garbage starter (Ivan Nova). So, the Pirates are not going to make the playoffs this year, and they aren’t giving their young guys time to develop in the big leagues to make a run with them next year. Makes a lot of sense. The Pirates keep sending Kuhl (I know he is banged up)/Brault/Glasnow back and forth, and running guys like Nova and Locke out there. They continue to send Jaso out there to bat lead off, and keep Bell down in AAA. The Pirates can’t believe they could compete this year- of they would have actually tried to improve this club. Instead, they made moves to continue to block young talent

  5. Antonio Bastardo and Ivan Nova and we got to keep all of the 30-somethings? Should have just locked NH in a padded room. I would have considered any of these trades a success if the result was that we would unload some of the roadblocks keeping our PROSPECTS at AAA.

    Maybe this off-season we can have another repeat of all the reasons why we could/should not bring up young guys until June, and then the trail of BS goes on from there – Groundhog Day. Bastardo was a dog last year, and we got him back. Nova I like more because I really know nothing about him except he is short-term at best.

  6. Garbage in garbage out. That is all one can say about this and the trade deadline deals. Why are the pirates hiding who they gave up for Nova? Could it be they gave up the farm for 10 start rental?

  7. Ok, we get rid of a guy who did not want to be here and
    did not want to be coached and we pick up a guy who
    seemed to like it here, improved with coaching, and
    might just fit in with the rest of the guys. We also get
    some cash.

    I’m ok with that. I think one of the problems that
    may have is that there is just not all of the
    good feelings in the locker room that we had the
    past couple of years. Maybe this will help a little.

  8. Not sure why the Mets would want Niese back. As for the Buccos, this may turn out to be a decent move as far as building next year’s pen.

  9. We couldn’t stand to pay Melancon $9.65 million for one year, but $8.3 million for one year and two months of Bastardo is a bargain??

      • Certainly makes it look a little bit better if we’re the ones getting some cash in this deal. But I would be shocked if Bastardo is on the opening day roster in 2017. He’ll get dealt over the winter.

        • Why? If Watson is going to be the closer then you have Rivero and Bastardo as your two lefties you can use at any time. If anything in terms of next year’s bullpen, I’m thinking this means they let Feliz walk as his price will likely be high and they try to sign Nicasio to a 2-3 year deal to keep a hard throwing right in the mix for slightly less money.

  10. Niese came in and would not listen to the coaching staff to change his arm slot and thus did not improve. Had to let him go, hope they can get Basto to get back on track.

    • Absolutely agree. Niese had lots of potential here, but his ego got in the way, and will send him back to the most talented rotation in baseball, where he will be lucky to get the 5th spot in that rotation. I like this deal.

      • Did it occur to you guys that Niese might be right, the Pirates forced him to pitch their way and screwed him up. He was pretty outspoken that they had him more worried about mechanics than getting people out.

        • When I think of guys like Burnett (twice), Liriano, Volquez, Melancon, Bastardo, and Happ…no. There wasn’t much tinkering needed for Niese since he already had one of the higher ground ball rates in the MLB with the Mets, which played right into the Pirates philosophy. Instead of making minor adjustments to improve his mechanics, he is now a leader in HRs give up.

  11. So the only reason that the Mets were willing to take Niese off our hands was because they could dump Bastardo. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for the Pirates. Bastardo is under contract next season for $6.5 million, and has been awful this year. It would have been better to just DFA Niese, at least they would only have been on the hook for the $500K option buyout

      • I wasn’t aware that the Mets are paying some money as part of the deal, so it probably works. Believe me, no one wanted to see Niese gone more than I did. But I’m very leery these days of the whole we can fix this pitcher thing, because I haven’t seen them succeed on any projects this year.

        • Feliz has been pretty good. Vogelsong was doing better than his previous year before taking one in the face. Niese being terrible shouldn’t take away from those two.

  12. This is much better than the Nova deal.
    Got Bastardo for another year too.
    Only question is how many LH relievers can fit in the pen?

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