PHILADELPHIA — Pirates lefthander Jonathon Niese may not be in high demand, especially after his own general manager, Neal Huntington, took to the airwaves on Friday to express buyers’ remorse.
But with the dearth of starting pitching available in the trade market at a time when the Mets could use reinforcements, team officials are not ruling out a reunion with Niese, according to people with knowledge of the club’s thinking.
That’s not to say that the Mets are banging down the doors to bring back Niese, who was dealt to the Pirates straight up this winter for second baseman Neil Walker.
The Mets continue to sort through the trade market for a reliever — specifically a righthander to help shore up the seventh inning — according to a source. Relief help remains the priority.
But increasingly, the Mets are keeping an eye out for potential rotation help, and they aren’t ruling out a flawed though familiar commodity.
As recently as a week ago, the Mets had shown no appetite for a reunion with Niese, who has been sent to the bullpen after posting a 5.13 ERA that would be a career-worst. The Pirates reportedly have been open to dealing the 29-year-old.
Huntington seemed to drive that point home on Friday, when he told a Pittsburgh radio station that he wishes the return in the Walker trade was different.
“In hindsight, maybe the two fringe prospects and trying to figure out where to reallocate the money might have been a better return,” Huntington told 93.7 The Fan.