Jeff Locke / Jonathon Niese

You can argue he’s been the worst starter for the Pirates this year. Pittsburgh loves Jeff Locke 1 minute, and is ready to watch him float away on the Allegheny River the other 59.

No one seemed to like Jonathon Niese very much since he became a Pirate. He was the returning piece in the offseason move that sent Neil Walker to the Mets. A Pittsburgh favorite exchanged for a guy NY was happy to get rid of.

Trade Jeff Locke? Move him to the bullpen? It’s said the buccos are looking to shop him along with Niese.

When Locke can locate his change-up he has shown he can be effective. When he isn’t he relies more the fastball and is prone to mistakes in location. He has shown stretches where he can be a solid guy in the rotation, but I don’t think the chance can be taken. If you take away his June start in Colorado (11 earned on 11 hits on 4 and 2/3 innings) he hasn’t been too bad.

He threw a complete game, 3 hit shut out in June down in Miami. The Pirates have won in each of his last 4 starts.

Toronto Blue Jays v Pittsburgh Pirates

Niese had some really bad years with the Mets, but he never hit a stretch as bad as the one he has been on with the Pirates. They know he won’t generate much return on the market, but they want to make room for the young up and comers. Niese knows everyone would much rather watch Tyler Glasnow instead of him.

Niese also knows the club is trying to move him. There were scouts from multiple teams at his start last Sunday at PNC against the Cubs. Niese put on a show treating them to a 5 earned, 8 hit outing over 3 and 2/3 innings. Great job marketing yourself!

I tried to get behind Jon Niese. Then I tried again… And again… He made it hard.

The rotation currently is Liriano, Cole, and Kuhl. After that it is TBD against Milwaukee starting Monday. Taillon is on the DL as of 7/3 (retroactive to 6/30) and Glasnow was optioned to Indianapolis. They could’ve announced Locke or Niese if they wanted to. Neither has pitched since 7/10.

I know the fans in Pittsburgh would say good riddance to both Niese and Locke to welcome Glasnow in a heartbeat. It’s easy to love the top young pitcher who has been dominating hitters in Triple-A, but is it worth it to risk inexperience in the second half of the season? Go ask the Pens how it worked out for them.

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