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Mets looking to trade a pitcher, should Red Sox be buyers?

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The Mets are looking for someone to take a pitcher off their hands. Should the Red Sox get involved?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are looking to trade one of Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, or Jon Niese according to Joel Sherman (by way of Ken Davidoff), offering another potential route for the Red Sox to find the pitching help they need.

For Boston, we can pretty quickly narrow that list down. The Red Sox have history with Bartolo Colon, and not good history. He went AWOL from the team in 2008 after pitching just 39 innings for the team, making it unlikely that they would welcome a reunion with the 41-year-old starter even if he were coming off a better season than 2014 proved.

Dillon Gee is slightly more likely, but still something of a long shot. Gee is a decent back-end arm who would at least be more reliable than the likes of, say, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, and the half-dozen other young arms the Red Sox threw at the wall in 2014. But they really have to be looking for more from their pitching acquisitions headed into 2015. If the Red Sox were going to add three pitchers, then Gee could be that third. But as the first or second, he doesn't really bring enough to the rotation to make a significant difference.

No, if there's a real prize to be found here, it's Jon Niese. He's a similar pitcher to Gee, really, but is just a little bit better in just about every way. The result is a pitcher who, if unspectacular, can get the job done in the middle of a rotation. The 3.50 ERA he's compiled these last few years isn't nearly so impressive as it used to be, particularly coming from New York, but it's still good enough that the Red Sox would be happy to have Niese solidifying their rotation.

Of course, none of these options is fit to replace Jon Lester, and it's hard to imagine the Red Sox would see any of them as answering their need for a front-line starting pitcher. Niese, frankly, isn't even in the upper echelon of possibilities for that second pitcher the team could really use. But Davidoff himself points out what could pique Boston's interest:

None of the three is likely to bring back a particularly robust return. Instead, giving up a veteran arm could help the Mets plug holes elsewhere (lefty reliever, bench player or prospect) and give them some payroll flexibility.

If Boston does have to dip into the trade market to pick up that second starter, the primary goal has to be getting out with their top young talent (the likes of Betts, Bogaerts, and Swihart) still under control. The Mets might just give them that chance, and if the Sox do have to deal from some of their considerable prospect depth, Niese comes with a nice pair of team options to make it worth their while.