With the MLB trade deadline looming, it is evident that the Toronto Blue Jays may need to bolster their rotation come July 31st. With lefty JA Happ only having quality starts when pitching after RA Dickey against the same team, the Blue Jays could potentially look at upgrading his spot in the rotation with a strong left-hander that comes with a lower asking price than David Price.
A potential target for the Blue Jays at the trade deadline could be Jonathon Niese of the New York Mets. As of today, the Mets are out of both a playoff and a wildcard spot and the way things are going for them, that won’t change anytime soon.
Jonathon Niese has been putting up career numbers this year with the Mets, posting an ERA of 2.54 with a WHIP of 1.129, both career highs for the 27-year-old lefty. It is worth noting that the Blue Jays have previously been interested in Niese but never pulled the trigger on acquiring the Mets’ 2014 ace (with Matt Harvey out with Tommy John).
With Jonathon Niese putting up career numbers at 27 and with the Blue Jays eyeing a playoff spot for the first time since they won the World Series in 1993, now would be the perfect time for Alex Anthopoulos to pull the trigger on a deal. If the Blue Jays can acquire Niese without digging further into their best prospects, AKA Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, Anthopoulos may just have to make this deal happen.
In terms of what the Blue Jays would offer to the Mets for the young lefty, Anthony Gose comes to mind as one potential piece as the Mets were interested in the speedy centre fielder when they were looking to trade RA Dickey. Another potential player the Blue Jays could be willing to deal would be Daniel Norris, one of their better pitching prospects down at AA New Hampshire. Finally, due to the fact that the Mets will need a ready pitcher to replace Niese, JA Happ comes to mind as a thrown-in piece to complete the deal.
Although the New York Mets may not want to part with Niese, especially considering he is locked up at a very affordable rate for the next four seasons, the Blue Jays should do their absolute best to pounce on the opportunity to bolster their rotation with the lefty for the upcoming stretch before and after the all-star break.