Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Well, lets talk what else.......piching, piching pitching during winter of upcoming spending, trading and signing.
We already know the Mets have plenty of pitching; however, as many of us out there have pointed out, that rich and full well of stud arms might have quickly dried up just as fast as it was filled in the past couple of seasons. Based on projections and good health (cross fingers) the Mets will line up (in my opinion) the most talented group of arms in major league baseball going into the summer of 2016. As of now that group is headlined by Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, Niese and a recovering/rehabbing Zack Wheeler.
Now, looking outside the 'dream rotation', we are looking at a much shorter list of potential stud arms throughout the Mets system right now. So much so that the Mets as of recently may still be quitely considering bringing back one Mr. Bartolo Colon to eat more innings (there's a pun in here, I know it). Sean Gilmartin pretty surprised all of us this past season, is under team control, and technically can be stretched out to a starter again if the team so chooses. Carlos Torres AKA Rubber Arm is still technically an arm under team control and would be cheap to bring back and stretched out as a spot starter. There is also the curious case of Mr. Rafael Montero who........to be honest I don't even know what to say with him. As far as I know he is still a member of the organization, under team control, and can/should be invited to camp. But the minor leaguers at this poing don't seem to be buzzing anymore with top Bee's.
Keeping my eye on the box scores, I saw a very inconsistent and down year from guys like Tyler Pill (7.45 AAA ERA with a 1.69 WHIP) and Matthew Bowman (16 losses, 5.53 ERA and 1.68 WHIP).Tim Stauffer became a bit of a reclamation project for the Mets, pitching well in the PCL for the Vegas 51's but faultering badly in his role as middle reliever for the Mets in September. As you start to go lower in the system you'll see a number of arms now missing, as they were all traded off during the Mets ascent into big boy land with much needed professional HITTERS at the trade deadline last year. And let's not forget the reports recently out of Mets camp that highly touted prospect Marcos Molina had finally gone under the knife and had the TJS, thus ellimating him from competing during the 2016 season at all.
Which brings me back to the usual topic of the day for the Mets, who's going to hit? The Mets go into the offseason with different holes to fill. Depending on who you ask, the team is looking for star power, defense, high contact rate guys, back of bullpen help and speed. Depending on who you ask within the organization, the team will be acquring these needs by going after a star, or maybe just going after 'spare parts' such as a platoon center fielder, a set up man willing to take only a one year deal, and possibly seeking from within for other bench pieces and replacements.
Which now brings me back to the actual title of the post: What to do with Zack Wheeler. The story basically remains the same. He's a Georgia kid. A legit 6th overall draft pick of whom the Mets acquired in the Carlos Beltran deal. Wheeler burst onto the scene (kinda late depending on who ya ask regarding his maybe extended stay in AAA level) with a nice shutout performance against the Atlanta Braves in 2013. To this point, thanks to his own Tommy John Surgery, he still only has an actual 32 starts as a major league pitcher. As a major league, Wheeler had two seasons of allowing less hits than innings which i always enjoy seeing, going 285 1/3 innings and giving up 257 hits. The issue, apparently from day one, has been control. His career WHIP, despite the solid innings/hits ratio, is still at 1.339 due the 125 walks.
From what I understand, even this story remains the same. Wheeler is said to have ELECTRIC stuff, with his ball having unreal movement. The issue has always been harnessing that talent and controlling that electricity to allow for more strikes than balls. We've since glimpes of Wheeler looking almost unhittable, followed by concerns about his high pitch count in numerous outings, leading to struggles to stay into the game going into the 5th and 6th inning even while dominating in the box score. Again, depending on who you ask, Zack Wheeler has the best overall 'stuff' of any of the 4 stud arms already in this rotation. And, right before the reports were confirmed regarding Wheeler elbow issues, we then started hearing rumors about just how healthy that elbow actually was for the years prior. It seemed to me that, during those press conferences and discussions following the time of his decision for surgery, the team began letting out information that basically stated Wheeler as having the elbow issues for years, and pretty much just having him go out there every outing not truly knowing when the elbow was going to fully tear, based on prior use, like many before him, in prior years which certainly pre-date his time with the Mets and even the Giants organizations. So, basically, the Mets have that chance of sending out a perfectly healthy Zack Wheeler in the coming year or so.
Here are some of the ways to look at Zack Wheeler as far as in possible trade. He may little to no value, depending on how the league perceives his injury. Just look at the Mets themselves here. Matt Harvey is now the poster child for success following surgery. However, Bobby Parnell was also coming off the surgery. And let's please not forget one Jeremy Hefner, who ended up having to undergo a second surgery and missed another season last year.
On the other hand, there's still the idea that the Brewers were wiling to take their chances in offering Carlos Gomez in trade for Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. Gonzalez, despite his own questions regarding injury, is a solid player in this league, above average defensively, with pop, and would have been under contact for another year for the Mets.
Perhaps Wheeler trade value may be at its peek right now. His pedigree is without question. His talent is without question. His ceiling remains extremely high. So, before he takes one step back on a baseball field, where anything can happen, this might be the best chance for the Mets to get the best possibly haul in trade for him.
If you go based strictly on numbers number numbers, and the way pitchers are used today, its almost safe to say that Zack Wheeler, even if 100% healthy, will not have a chance to pitch anywhere near 200 innings in a season until maybe 2018.......2018........By the time Wheeler would be back on track, so to speak, he should be well on his way through the arbitration and free agent process. So now its a matter of wondering what the Mets really think about Wheeler future with the organization. Look, information is always leaked, and so we apparently already know about Wheeler and his desire to stay with the Mets, which can be a huge plus going forward into arbitration and free agency. So, with that in mind, would a healthy Wheeler actually get a long term contract over a Matt Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz or deGrom?
Questions will continue to fly. As I write this post, we are still a day away from learning what Daniel Murphy will do. After that, the Mets will decide where to go on all fronts with numerous positions based solely on what Murphy does with his pretty huge $15.8 mil offer on the table. The question afterwards will be what should the Mets do from there?
I've already written a previous post about my thoughts on the dream rotation, my thoughts from myself and others who agree that teams honestly don't need 5, or even 4 stud arms in their rotation (See Royals). And so what remains best for the team, and the organization, to compete and compete for titles, not just regular season wins.
What say you Mets fans? Keep Zack Wheeler, watch him grow, mature, FINALLY have a healthy arm, and dominate for years to come after a signing a nice long term contract to remain a loyal Met?
Trade Wheeler, either for a stud bullpen arm, or a teams top 5 high level prospect, or package him with prospects to acquire an all star hitter?