By: Stache Staff

Left-Handed Trade Completed Between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets


At last, the Pittsburgh Pirates have completed the trading of Jon Niese, which was a looming nightmare for them. The Bucs made a swift move to trade Niese to the New York Mets because the pitcher was having one of the most horrible seasons of his career. Niese returned to the team he came from before joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Mets, and swapped with Antonio Bastardo, the left-handed reliever who was a pitcher for the Pirates in 2015. This move could improve the MLB sports betting odds for both teams.

When the season started, Jon Neise began in the starting rotation of Pittsburgh Pirates, but after a great struggle, he was relegated to the bullpen. Almost immediately, the Mets showed their interest to reunite with Jon Niese, which is roughly the Pirates announced that they were trading him. Eventually, Niese rejoined the Mets on Tuesday.

Signing a two-year, $12m contract in the offseason with the Mets, Antonio Bastardo, will remain under team management next year. Therefore, Antonio Bastardo and Felipe Rivero will relieve each other in pitching, but his trade accompanies team control through 2017. Technically, Antonio Bastardo was unable to play well this season with the Mets, but I believe he will improve with the Bucs. This season, Bastardo has a 4.72 xFIP, 5.06 FIP, and 4.74 ERA in 43 2/3 innings pitched. Furthermore, his strikeout rate stands strongly at 9.48 K/9, at an average of 4.33 BB/9 and 1.65 HR/9. Nevertheless, so far this season, he has already recorded a career high ground ball rate of 36.9%.

Antonio Bastardo has played better this season compared to all right-and-left-handed hitters, especially with reverse splits. Against Bastardo, left-handed hitters have a .392 wOBA; however, he has a .282 wOBA against right-handed hitters. Furthermore, he has pitched tremendously well on the road this season with a .279 opposing wOBA, matched with a .378 wOBA in Citi Field in New York.

The main reasons for my optimism regarding this trade stars with the notion that, last season, Bastardo became the most effective player in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. He recorded a 3.33 FIP and averaging more than 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in 57 1/3 innings. Again, from last season, his fastball velocity has not dropped. Off his fastball, rival hitters have a 152 wRC+, but with only a wRC+ of 57 off his slider as well as 88 off his changeup. In a deeper point of view, Bastardo has improved his changeup from last season, which even makes him play better than many right-handed hitters this year. Therefore, Antonio Bastardo still has his tools to become an effective reliever, and now the buck stops with Ray Searage to ensure he utilizes those tools accordingly.

In contrast to the Ivan Nova trade, which took place earlier the same day, I like this “left-handed” trade. This season has seen Jon Niese playing very terribly for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he eventually left for his old club. Now that Antonio Bastardo has also rejoined his old team where he played effectively before, the fact that he is still under contract next year will make him work harder to help the Pirates fill the gap.

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