According to Gorden Edes at Yahoo Sports, the Washington Nationals currently have scouts evalutating both the Mets Triple-A team in Buffalo N.Y and their Double-A team in Binghamton, N.Y.
This is a clear-cut sign that the Mets currently have interest in trading for the Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, as they have been left without the services of Carlos Delgado for the next two months following hip surgery.
Johnson is in the last year of a heavy contract and the Nationals are not likely to resign, making him prime trade bait. Johnson is having one of his best starts in years, currently batting .329/.436/.460, and more importantly, his glove is a lot better than Daniel Murphy’s.
According to Edes, the Nats are paying close attention to pitchers Jon Niese, Mike Antonini, and Eddie Kunz.
Lets take a look:
Jon Niese-Jon Niese is a 22 year old left-handed starting pitcher from Lima, Ohio. A childhood friend and teammate of the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley, Niese has often been overshadowed by great talent around him. This is what caused him to slip to the 9th round of the 2005 MLB draft, where the Mets selected him 209th overall. Since being drafted Niese has been successful at every level, including a 2008 that saw the young lefty combine to go 11-8 with a 3.13 ERA with 144 K’s to 58 BB’s, in AAA New Orleans and AA Binghamton. 2009 however has been rough so far as Niese has only gone 0-3 with an 8.17 ERA in six starts.
Mike Antonini- Antonini was drafted by the Mets in the 18th round of the 2007 draft out of Georgia College & State University. He combines a solid fastball that sits in the mid-low 90’s with a plus change up that keeps hitters off balance. The 23 year old saw early success in 2007 where he combined for a 1.99 ERA in 12 games. 2009 has not been as productive for Antonini however, as he has combined for a 6.28 ERA in 8 games. His strikeout-walk ratio still stays high however at 32/15.
Eddie Kunz- Eddie Kunz is a 23-year-old righty drafted out of Oregon State by the Mets in the second round of the 2007 MLB draft. In his first full season in professional ball, Kunz had pitched 44 games for the Double-A Binghamton Mets, recording a 2.79 ERA with 22 saves. He was called up to the Major League Mets during the club’s bullpen meltdown in the fall of 2008, but only saw limited action. So far through 12 games for the Mets Triple-A affiliate he has a 3.79 ERA. He has also allowed 14 walks in 19 innings pitched.