Home Pittsburgh Sports College Football Pirates trade Walker to Mets for starting pitcher Jonathon Niese

Pirates trade Walker to Mets for starting pitcher Jonathon Niese

The Pirates traded infielder Neil Walker to the New York Mets in exchange for left-handed pitcher Jonathon Niese on Wednesday.

Walker was the Pirates No. 1 draft pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball draft. The Pine-Richland High School graduate made his major league debut in September 2009 and became the Pirates every day second baseman the following season.

The 30-year-old Walker, who will become a free agent after the 2016 season, hit .272 in 836 games with his hometown team. A consistent hitter throughout his time with the Pirates, Walker’s highest single-season average was as rookie in 2010 when he hit .296. He hit a career-high 23 homers in 2014 and had a career-best 83 RBI in 2011.

“We greatly appreciate Neil and all he has done for our club, both on the field and in our community,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly.  He has always represented his hometown team with a great sense of pride and passion.  For that we thank him and wish him and his family nothing but success as he continues his career in New York.”

Niese, 29, went 9-10 with a 4.13 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 33 appearances with the Mets last season. The Defiance, Ohio native was originally selected by New York in the seventh round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft and has compiled a 61-61 record, three complete games, two shutouts, a 3.91 ERA and 826 strikeouts in 182 games (177 starts) since breaking into the big leagues in 2008.  

“This is a true baseball trade in the sense that it helps fill an immediate need at the Major League level for each club,” said Huntington.  “We have liked Jonathon for some time now.  He is an established veteran left handed starter who will fill an immediate role in our rotation, with the potential for two additional years under contract.”

Since the beginning of the 2012 campaign, Niese has produced a total of 76 quality starts, which is tied for the seventh-most among all National League pitchers. Niese has also allowed three earned runs or less in 46 starts since the beginning of 2014, which is tied for the 12th-most in the National League in that time.

In 2012 Niese recorded career highs in wins (13), strikeouts (155) and innings pitched (190.1). He also went a club-record 17 straight starts from June 3 to September 7, 2012, where he pitched 6.0 or more innings and walked two or fewer batters (the previous record was 12 by Pedro Martinez in 2005). 

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