Jon Niese, a veteran lefthanded starting pitcher who has spent most of his career with the New York Mets, has been signed by the Rangers to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, per Ken Davidoff on Twitter.
Niese, 31, had what appeared to be a breakout year in 2012, when he put up a 3.40 ERA and a 3.80 FIP over 190.1 IP in 30 starts for the Mets, good for a 3.4 bWAR. Niese struggled after that, though, eventually being traded by the Mets to the Pirates for Antonio Bastardo in August, 2016. Niese was signed and released twice by the New York Yankees in 2017, but never appeared in a major or minor league game as he attempted to return from knee surgery.
Interestingly, in November, 2014, I wrote up Jon Niese as someone the Rangers might target as a potential trade acquisition that offseason. The Rangers didn’t acquire Niese, opted to trade for Yovani Gallardo instead, and that worked out pretty well. Niese gives the Rangers another veteran arm to look at in some sort of role, be it rotation or bullpen, and gives them an additional depth piece to consider this spring.