New York Mets must move on from Zack Wheeler this offseason
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler has failed to live up to expectations. This offseason, they need to move on.
When the New York Mets reeled in Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, they hoped he would develop into a stud pitcher. As we all know now, several roadblocks prevented him from reaching his potential.
Wheeler started off looking like a possible future star. Injuries derailed his path, keeping him out of big league action in 2015 and 2016. Since returning, Wheeler has been a fifth starter at best.
Throughout his big league career, Wheeler has had trouble finding the strike zone. In each of his four seasons, the year has ended with an average of more than three walks per nine. In all but one season, he averaged more than four. Unless you’re a young Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson, handing out this many free passes is going to hurt.
It’s quite clear what Wheeler can and cannot do. At this stage, it’s time for the Mets to move on from him in the offseason.
Whether it’s via trade or simply non-tendering him a contract, Wheeler’s time in Queens must end. His attitude at the start of 2018 in regards to a demotion showed his true colors.
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Perhaps a result of pitching alongside a few other arrogant starting pitchers, it’s important the locker room clears itself of anyone who could turn into a bad apple.
There isn’t a single reason why the Mets should believe Wheeler is anything more than an arm for the back of the rotation. If Dave Eiland believes Noah Syndergaard has done nothing in his career, I can’t imagine the offensive foreword he’d write in a biography about Wheeler. The guy has done nothing in the big leagues other than create some buzz and pose for photos with other pitchers.
Between the two choices of non-tendering him and a trade, I would prefer the Mets go the latter route. It’s always best to get something than nothing at all. Considering they were able to trade Matt Harvey and get something back in return, I believe they could do the same with Wheeler.
Unfortunately, Wheeler has only one year of arbitration left after this year. He’s a free agent following the 2019 campaign, decreasing his value even further. Anyone who acquires him is only guaranteed one season of hoping and praying he finally finds himself.
The Mets should have room for Wheeler in the rotation next year, but that spot should go to someone else. Kids like Corey Oswalt deserve a chance to stick in the rotation while Wheeler needs a change of scenery if he ever wants to succeed in MLB.
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What does the future hold for Wheeler? For sure, it’s not what fans had hoped for back in 2011.