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Mets Can Never Trade Zack Wheeler

On July 29, 2015, word spread like wild fire through Citi Field. The New York Mets had executed a trade which could help the team make the postseason and possibly win their first World Series in nearly 30 years. Wilmer Flores was in tears, and Carlos Gomez was packing for his flight to New York while Zack Wheeler continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

As soon as the game was over, we discovered the trade was nixed because Gomez apparently had a hip issue. While fans were angry over the mayhem which ensued from another PR disaster from the Mets organization, Wheeler was relieved. In fact, Wheeler would pick up the phone to call Sandy Alderson to tell him that he wanted to remain a part of the Mets organization.

Fast forward four years, and Wheeler is once again on the trade block. Unlike 2015, there is no keeping him around for him to remain a part of the Mets going forward. He is going to be a free agent after the season is over, and based upon the Mets payroll and willingness to spend, it would seem like this is definitively his last season in Queens. Given that fact, a Mets team with the second worst record in the National League needs to trade him to recoup what they can to at least revamp the team for 2020 and beyond.

The plans to trade him were dealt a huge blow when Wheeler landed on the Injured List.

Initially, the Mets characterized it as shoulder fatigue or a dead arm. In those cases, you just need a brief rest, and you should be fine. The Mets downplaying it took an interesting twist when Wheeler got to talk about it. He made things sound much worse calling it an impingement and saying the MRI was “pretty much clean.”

He also backtracked a bit on the Mets statements Wheeler should be ready to go as soon as his IL stint is over saying he isn’t sure when he can return. Although, he did say he wants to be back on the mound as soon as possible.

With Wheeler’s ill timed IL stint, there is now a question if the Mets could get a sufficient enough return to move him. Despite what some will tell you, it would be absolutely worth giving him a qualifying offer. If he rejects it, and he should, the Mets could get a decent comp pick in what should be a loaded draft. All told, this means the Mets may not be in a position to trade him for a lower return because of this IL stint.

As a result, it means medicals may once again prevent Wheeler from being traded away from the Mets. This makes Wheeler the man nearly impossible for the Mets to trade. If he is offered the qualifying offer, and he accepts, we should see another year of Wheeler because, again, he is the man the Mets are incapable of trading.

All jokes aside, Wheeler is a good pitcher who still has potential. We also know he is a very good second half pitcher having a better second half ERA than Jacob deGrom last year. With this second half schedule and the deep draft upcoming, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world to keep Wheeler. Of course, that is only coming from it from a perspective of the anticipated return possibly being diminished now.

14 thoughts on “Mets Can Never Trade Zack Wheeler”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    The airwaves are flooded with this topic and there is a very simple answer — trade him for a player to be named later. The other team provides groups of prospects against some measurement like games started.Maybe we get an two Bs if he throws 12 starts, or just a C if he throws 5 or less.

    If he is healthy, we get back a prospect equal or better than a comp pick, which. by the way, we would only get anyway only if Wheeler winds up with a large multi-year contract. If he is injured going into the FA market, he might not get a big enough deal anyway.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Be quiet

      1. OldBackstop says:

        You could specify they look like the players you adore: Syndergaard, Conforto, deGrom, Alonso, Wheeler, Matz….and not the ones you demonize: Cano, Ramos, Vargas, Diaz.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I’m not going to dignify this with a response

          1. OldBackstop says:

            That should be the banner across your comments section “Stattics will only be dignified by saying a guy is “terrible.”

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Another stupid and baseless comment in a series of them from you.

  2. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Cross-posting:

    —The FO appears to have forgotten that Wheeler is not a 6+ inning starter over a full season, and that they got lucky last year just getting him to 30GS/180IP. That he hit the IL is no surprise, and the team may have wrecked its chance to get real value for him. Wheeler doesn’t deserve that, we don’t deserve that, but this FO does. Imagine a pitcher with real arm issues who was pointlessly stretched last year in a lost season, and that now in another lost season they have leading the team in IP. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    –A team like the Rays should target Vargas, pick him up for a nebulous bullpen arm, pair him with an Opener, and get a useful 6 innings out of two very modest pitchers. Vargas, averaging 5 innings a start, now has a below league average ERA, and a well below league average FIP, yet the unimaginative Mets continue to treat him like any other starter. Once again, they put their players in a position to struggle if not fail.

    –The FO is also looking to wreck Todd Frazier’s value, playing him almost every day since he came off the IL in April, playing him in 96% of the team’s games, a pace of 155 games if this was still a 162 game season. It’s a lost season. They know they’re going to deal him, and in any case the drop-off to Davis or Hech is trivial. Stupid^3. It’s hardly a surprise his OPS is .587 over the last 3 weeks.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      1. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen anything which suggests Wheeler can’t be at least a six inning pitcher.

      2. Rays would have no interest in Vargas because they’re a smart team which likes good and not bad pitchers.

      3. Mets are playing Frazier because he gives them their best chance to win.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        1. Wheeler was wrecked by his first major league season of more than 180 innings. It took him 4 (four!) years to recover. After his second major league season of more than 180 innings we see his performance greatly fall off and he is currently on the IL, with no timetable for return. By the end of this year he will have had all of 2 seasons of 180 MLB innings out of 7 (6 if you want to discount the late arrival in 2013). The evidence that Wheeler cannot go a full season averaging 6 innings per start, let along more than 6 innings per start, is incontrovertible.

        2. Vargas is not a bad pitcher. He’s a mediocrity being poorly used. Every team needs pitchers with league average ERAs, which Vargas would have also had last year had the Mets not needlessly put him on the mound after they mishandled Harvey. On a prudent team Vargas’s line last year would have read 11 GS, 3.80 ERA. The idea that a smart team couldn’t find a use for Vargas, even as a long reliever, is inexplicable, as is the idea that there are “good” pitchers and “bad” pitchers and nothing in between.

        3. Playing Frazier into the ground does not give the Mets their best chance to win, and overplaying old guys is a mistake only bad teams make, since they don’t realize that, for example, the difference between one game at 3B with Frazier and one game at 3B with Hech is around nine-one thousandths (0.009%) of one run.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          1. I don’t see how how a difficulty returning from Tommy John is incontrovertible evidence Wheeler can’t go six innings. Last year, he threw 187.1 IP, and he’s been fine.

          2. No, Vargas is bad. If you’re a starter who can’t go five innings consistently, you’re a bad starter. If you want to say he’d be good in long relief, you’re guessing as he’s never previously served in that role, and I don’t see smart teams looking to find out.

          3. Playing Frazier over Hechavarria and Davis at third absolutely gives the team their best chance to win.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            1. Trying to go 6+ innings, the original statement, obviously wrecked Wheeler’s arm. It took him 4 years to get back from the damage incurred. The next time he tried to go 6+, he again couldn’t handle it. Dead shoulder, hits the IL, getting bad results in any case (4.69 ERA), trade value plummets… What other proof is required beyond the plain fact that ‘Wheeler cannot go 6+ regularly in even 1/3 of the seasons since he got to the majors’? Not to mention he has been bad this year, after going 180 innings last year.

            If a player not being able to do something regularly is not proof that the player cannot do something regularly, then we’re living in Wonderland where there are no such things as evidence and proof.

            He can’t do it. If he could, he would, but he can’t, so he doesn’t.

            2. Yes, the Mets are making Vargas look bad by putting him in a position to which he is ill-suited. He is obviously a useful pitcher, and at the right price he would improve, however marginally, all 30 MLB teams.

            3. Playing Frazier to the point where his OPS is under .400 makes him obviously inferior to Hech and Davis. Answer? Rest him regularly. Optimize his ability instead of treating him like a bulletproof 24 year old.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            1. He has TJ like many before him. Are we going to say going 6+ ruined Smoltz or any other SP who had TJ?

            2. As a long reliever, he may be useful, but we don’t know. He’s just not a fifth starter anymore.

            3. Frazier at his worst is still a better option than Hechavarria and Davis

          3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            “1. He has TJ like many before him. Are we going to say going 6+ ruined Smoltz or any other SP who had TJ?”

            —It’s Wheeler’s poor recovery from TJ that’s the issue. Smoltz wasn’t ruined by TJ because he didn’t pitch like someone who was ruined by TJ. Evidence is evidence. Proof is proof. It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. If Wheeler was capable of 180 inning seasons he’d have more than 2 such seasons of 6 or 7.

            “2. As a long reliever, he may be useful, but we don’t know. He’s just not a fifth starter anymore.”

            —The average 5th starter so designated at the beginning of the year usually doesn’t go more than 5, and the few who do don’t pitch the near-average ball Vargas is pitching. Most teams would be happy to take Vargas’s production in the #5 slot in their rotations, although contenders often aim a little higher.

            In any case there’s little reason to think he couldn’t adapt to long relief.

            “3. Frazier at his worst is still a better option than Hechavarria and Davis”

            —Frazier with a .530 OPS and depleted fielding after being played into the ground is not better at that point than Hech and his .721 OPS for the season or his .638 career OPS. It’s an easy point to prove. Play (or try to play) Frazier in 161 straight games and he will not be preferable to a well-rested, part-time Hech. At some point their performance will intersect and Frazier’s will be superior, but it’s obvious there are phases at which it is inferior. What’s of interest is where that point of intersection occurs, and how much rest to give a player.

            If players didn’t become worse at some point than their substitutes teams would simply play every starter who could stand in 162 games each season. The reason why they don’t is clear cut–it’s because at some point it will be worse to keep playing the starter. At some point it will be worse to play Frazier, than to play Hech.

          4. metsdaddy says:

            1. As hoc ergo proptor hoc
            2. No other team would be happy with what Vargas gives as a fifth starter. His remaining a Met at the deadline will be proof of that.
            3. Frazier is still a good defender and a better hitter than the other two.

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