The Yankees are set to sign left-handed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor-league contract, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Daily Post. The deal is pending a physical
A former Met, Niese had an injury-riddled 2016, splitting the season between Pittsburgh and New York. The Mets dealt the 30-year old to the Pirates last winter in exchange for Neil Walker. The southpaw was less than enthused by the move and had some parting comments for the Mets that left many wondering if he’d burned his bridge back to Queens.
Niese racked up a 4.91 ERA over 110 innings on the year. He recorded a dim 1.87 K/BB and 76 strike outs, as steady decline from his past five seasons with the Mets. One of Niese’s biggest issues was his inability to keep balls in the park, with his home run rate surging to 22.1%.
In baseball, money talks more than any charred infrastructure, and Niese returned to the Mets at last year’s trade deadline in a deal that sent fellow lefty Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates. Niese only pitched 11 innings more innings as a Met before going under the knife for arthroscopic surgery on a torn left meniscus. Instead of taking Niese’s $10MM option for 2017, the Mets chose to pay his $500K buyout.
If Niese makes it to the big leagues for the Yankees, he’ll likely be used as a middle reliever or could see some time at the back-end of the rotation if the need presents. With the team trying to break in new, young arms to work into their bullpen, Niese brings a degree of veteran support and experience to the team.