Pirates Move Jonathan Niese to Bullpen

July 15th, 2016

After attempts to trade him failed, the Pittsburgh Pirates have moved Jonathon Niese out of the rotation and into the bullpen for the second half of the season. With Gerrit Cole returning from the disabled list and Jeff Locke named the starter for next Tuesday, Pittsburgh chose to bump Niese.

This season, Niese regressed even more than the season before with the New York Mets. After a 2014 season where he posted a career-best 3.40 ERA, Niese slipped down in 2015 to a 4.13 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Pittsburgh hoped a change of scenery would help the 29-year-old lefty, but pulled the plug after 18 starts.

Across 101 2/3 innings this season as a starter, Niese has allowed 124 hits, has a 76/31 K/BB ratio and surrendered 20 home runs. The long ball has proven to be a serious trouble spot as the 20 home runs allowed matched last season's total when he needed 176 2/3 innings. On the year, Niese had a 5.13 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. Even if injuries strike the Pirates' rotation again, Niese hasn't shown he is worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues for over a year now.

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