The New York Mets have had teams interested in trading for starting pitcher Zack Wheeler as the deadline draws near.
The New York Mets have been locked in a months-long free fall. After starting the year 11-1, they’ve fallen to disastrous 32-47 (entering play on June 30). Thanks to the fall from grace, trade rumors have abounded around the team, especially their deep starting pitching pool.
There has been talk of moving ace pitcher Jacob deGrom (although it’s doubtful they’d get equal value for him) and budding ace Noah Syndergaard. However, another pitcher could be moved, as James Wagner of the New York Times reports via Twitter that Zack Wheeler has drawn interest.
As Mets figure out trade deadline plans, a pitcher that’s drawn some inquiries, beyond much-talked about Syndergaard & deGrom: Zack Wheeler. 3.38 ERA over last 8 starts, healthy, split-change effective, hitting 99 mph, free agent after next yr. Starter trade market is weak, too.
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) June 29, 2018
Although Wheeler’s numbers are pedestrian (2-6 with a 4.47 ERA), he’s been better than they would suggest. His poor win-loss record is due in part to the bullpen, which has accumulated 21 losses so far on the season (again, entering play on June 30. That number will surely go up, probably as soon as entering play on July 1).
His bloated ERA is due to a rough start, but he seems to have turned it around lately. As Wagner points out, he has a 3.38 ERA over his past eight starts and his velocity is back to his pre-Tommy John surgery level.
He’s struggled with injuries in the past, missing all of 2015 and 2016 after having Tommy John surgery, and he missed significant time in 2017 due to injury. However, he threw 38.2 innings in June, a career high for him in a month.
If the Mets trade Wheeler, it could blow up in the team’s face. Wheeler is a former top prospect who seems to be figuring it all out at age 28 after struggling through three injury-plagued years. The team would be selling low on Wheeler as his injury history is concerning for teams.
On the other hand, the Mets could very well share those health concerns about Wheeler. The team, being led by a committee, after the announcement that Sandy Alderson is taking a medical leave of absence, could conclude that dealing Wheeler now, while they can get a strong return for him, is the way they want to go.
None of this means that the Mets are going to trade Wheeler, but it shows that the team isn’t closing any avenues without exploring what is down them. The team is intent on keeping an open mind about trades, and as long as they don’t force a move because they feel the need to make a deal, that’s a good sign.
It’s now known that teams are interested in Wheeler. Whether they’re interested enough to make an offer that makes it worth moving him remains to be seen.