Sometimes in baseball it’s not the trades that you make, it’s the trades that you don’t make. During the offseason, when New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was shopping Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey, under the farce that he was merely “listening to offers”, a lot of teams expressed more interest in acquiring Jon Niese than Dickey. But in the end Alderson traded away Dickey and kept Niese, which may not have been easy to do, but it was the right move.
There is no doubt that the trade offers in return for Niese were better than the offers the Mets had on the table for Dickey. Why shouldn’t there have been? Niese is younger, left handed, he is locked into a long-term team-friendly contract, and, despite not being a Cy Young winner, he probably has more good years ahead of him than Dickey. At one point, it appeared as if the Mets could have received Kansas City Royals prospect Wil Meyers, one of the top prospects in baseball, in exchange for Niese. Meyers would have been the perfect fit for the Mets, as a major-league-ready right-handed bat that would have immediately filled the voids the Mets have in right field and the middle of their lineup. Of course, that trade didn’t happen, and Meyers was ultimately traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It would have been easy for Alderson to pull the trigger on a trade that would have given the Mets Meyers at the expense of Niese, but he knew that it’d be better to hang on to Niese and explore other options. Alderson understood that with a slew of right-handed power pitchers working their way up the organization, the Mets would need a young lefty with an exceptional curveball, like Niese, to balance out the rotation. He also understood that there is no substitute for young pitching, and that Niese has already established himself as a major league pitcher and will only get better.
In the end, Alderson stuck to his guns and let the market come to him. He hung onto Niese and waited until he received an offer for Dickey that he liked. As a result, he got the kind of right-handed bat he was looking for in Travis d’Arnaud, as well as another pitching prospect in Noah Syndergaard. It was a great trade for the Mets, but an even better trade was the one that Alderson didn’t make, the one that allowed him to hold onto Niese, and keep him a member of the Mets for years to come.