Ernest Dove - Mets Trade Him or Keep Him: Zack Wheeler


  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?


Tom Brennan said...

I have heard only positives in his rehab. I think a truly healthy Wheeler could return to the rotation better than he was before. Teams would face an ace every single game. If they really feel that, I would not trade him unless another team were to make us an offer we couldn't refuse.

Anonymous said...

Thomas, it was Carlos Gomez, not Carlos Gonzales. By Wheeler throwing 200 pitches I am guessing you meant innings.

Regardless, I would keep Wheeler. Once the Mets traded Fulmer, they have to keep Wheeler because they don't know what is up with Montero and Niese is always hit or miss.

Also take into consideration the fact that Harvey will test the FA market and will not be re-signed by the Mets. If anyone needs to be traded after the 2016 season for a boat load of prospects is Harvey.

But if the Mets still have a rotation of deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Montero, they are still in a good place.

If Wheeler did what he did while being hurt, I really really want to see what he can do completely healthy before I even consider trading any of the 5.

Anonymous said...

As valuable as Wheeler might be now, think about how valuable he would be if he comes back in July 2016 and is throwing fastballs at 98mph with control? How much more valuable will he be then?

A rotation full of aces is just too much for me to pass up. I want to live it as a Mets fan. Lets not forget that Wheeler was the one everyone thought had the best pure stuff.

His control issues might have been Wheeler compensating for the pain.
Too much upside to trade without having a proper second look at a healthy pitcher.

Ernest Dove said...

Hey Anon I tried to fix up some errors in the post.......thats what i get when I write a post while at same time writing for my 'day job' ;)

Michael S. said...

Keep him unless the return is too good. No trading of ace pitchers to 'plug holes' unless the ones you're talking about are legitimate middle of the order hitters.

Andrelton is not worth an ace pitcher, that was just the ask because we're division rivals.

Mack Ade said...

As all of you already know, I'm keeping the 'Fab 5" at least through 2018

Anonymous said...

KEEP HIM! He will either be the fifth "ace" or he will increase his trade value by actually showing that he can pitch (again).

For now, he was rumored to be worth close to Jay Bruce and/or Carlos Gomez, while recovering from surgery this Summer.

If he comes back strong, what is he worth?

Unknown said...

I kinda laugh at how serious we all get when bandying about the fate of our favorite team and wonder what the conversation must be like in the Murphy household this week: honey I'm a little stuck on what to do right now.....I can DOUBLE my previous contract so I'll make 15.8 MILLION!!! (holy s**t) or wait till the offers pour in...hmmmm what to do what to do. Wow must be tough being a ballplayer. I always get a kick out of the talking sports heads when they say things like: he should get as much $$$ as he can so he can support his family LOL like that is really the factor here so lets spell it out: GREED plain and simple and like the old Giant GM George Young once said: Whenever they say it's not about the money...ITS DEFINITELY ABOUT THE MONEY. As always it's never really about the fans and if I hear one more TV guy say how Marvin Miller should be in the HOF I'm going to throw something at the screen. I still have tickets from the old days and my first game at Shea was Bunnings perfect game so that must have been a real steal at $2.50 for loge reserved. But wait I got World series tickets to game 5 in 73' for LOL 10 bucks....ahh the old days. Now I don't begrudge anyone a fair wage and I know about supply and demand but $1600 for a WS ticket geez. Anyway I'll stop rambling know and get back to the real question: I trade Harvey now because unlike the sports reporters his value will never be higher than right now. He could win the CY next year BUT he also could regress based on his innings load after TJS which I heard no pitcher has pitched as many innings after TJS as Harvey. The deal would have to be perfect and for me its a package that would bring us Betts and Bogaerts from Boston and you can add Flores and Nimmo etc. but that would set us up with Conforto, Betts and Grandy in the outfield and Duda(I would trade him to if Murph stay he plays first if not one year of Lucas till Smith is ready) Herrera Boagy and Wright on the infield and still have 3 #1's with Neise Montero and maybe Colon to fill in till Wheeler is available. Probably won't happen but it's fun to talk about.

Ernest Dove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ernest Dove said...

2016 is gonna be a VERY interesting year. ......Most of the Alderson Era first round picks will now be at the major league, aaa and aa levels..........I say wait and see what happens with development of dom smith, cecchini, nimmo, along with Herrera and Conforto in 2016.......if multiple kids go south in production then its probably time to trade an ace......otherwise if many continue to progress...., "ya gotta know when to HOLD EM"

Reese Kaplan said...

And know when to fold 'em...Tejada, Recker, Nieuwenhuis, to name a few...

I'm already on record stating you have to look at the hole in CF, fortifying the bullpen and the bench.

Unfortunately, the Mets are not major players in the FA marketplace and that means you have to give to get. There's not much left to give. You could theoretically trade Duda to DH somewhere, but then who plays 1B? Cuddyer? You could try to move David Wright to DH somewhere, but you're left with a hole at SS assuming Flores would slide over to 3B and Herrera to 2B. It's time for the purse strings to open...didn't the Wilpons and Alderson promise if they won they would spend...the last time I checked they went to the World Series.

Zozo said...

I concur. Trade Harvey, Cecchini, Nimmo and Duda for Bogaerts and Betts. We get our centerfielder and shortstop and they get a couple prospects they can probably trade to the White Sox for their stud pitcher as well.
Then I would trade Granderson for whatever prospect we could get.
Then Sign Heyward and we have our offense set to go with our young studs minus Harvey.

Zozo said...

I agree they need to start spending and that has to be ASAP!!!

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