The Mets are considering the possibility of a disabled list stint for Jon Niese, who has been dealing with a nagging shoulder issue. Manager Terry Collins said this is not related to the side contusion Niese suffered in his previous start against the Rangers, as he was struck by an Alex Rios line drive and forced to leave the game after just 12 pitches.
Collins insists that Niese's shoulder has been acting up throughout the season, as evidenced by his diminished fastball velocity (90-91 mph past three seasons, 88.6 mph so far in 2014). Even with decline in velocity, Niese has been the Mets' most consistent starter this season, leading the staff with a 2.96 ERA and 3.61 FIP. Couple that with his team-friendly contract, Niese is by far the most valuable trade chip Sandy Alderson has to play with as the trade deadline approaches.
If Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija could net a bona-fide top prospect in Addison Russell, one could only imagine how good a return Niese, a younger and arguably better pitcher, can fetch. So the timing of this possible DL stint is rather unfortunate. Should Niese land on the DL, Dillon Gee should take his spot in the rotation as he is scheduled to return next week to pitch against the Braves. Daisuke Matsuzaka will remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future.