You probably know this story, but it’s worth repeating. When the Mets traded Jonathon Niese for Neil Walker last offseason, the pair decided that Walker would rent Niese’s New York City apartment for the 2016 season. By August of this year, Niese was back with the Mets, and he was homeless.
Here’s one you don’t know. My roommate ran into Niese on the Upper East Side before Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS.
“How are you feeling about the game?” my roommate asked.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Niese unenthusiastically replied. The cashier handed him a dollar, which he dropped on the floor.
These are the types of minor tragedies that one imagines Jonathon Niese suffers on an almost daily basis. His name has become a punchline among Mets fans, and his departure from the club will largely go unnoticed, since most fans were too frustrated to pay attention to this team for the three weeks he was around.
It’s not worth trying to draw some greater meaning behind Jonathon Niese’s continued big league employment, although it’s hard to fault anybody who does. He’s not even particularly remarkable in being entirely unremarkable; plenty of low velocity left-handed pitchers get way too many chances in baseball.
As far as a season in review goes, there really isn’t much to talk about. After leaving the Mets in the 2016 offseason in a straight-up trade for Neil Walker, Niese returned from Pittsburgh in a deadline deal for struggling reliever Antonio Bastardo. Along the way, he threw shade at the Mets’ defense and was essentially called a waste of space by the Pirates’ GM. His best start of the season was unsurprisingly against the Mets, when he allowed no runs on four hits in seven innings on June 7.
Mets fans had no expectations for his second stint with the club, and yet he still somehow managed to underperform. Here’s his Mets game log.
There’s really nothing worth reporting that the stat lines don’t already make clear, other than that his season was ended by a torn meniscus. The shortest version: six games, two starts, 11 innings, four homers allowed, and an 11.45 ERA.
The Mets paid $500,000 to decline a team option for Niese for 2017. If it were any other player, it’d be reasonable to predict a Justin Turner-style rebirth (or maybe just an Ollie Perez one) upon finally saying farewell to Queens. We’re talking about Jonathon Niese, though, so he’ll probably just end up yelling at umps.