The New York Mets will face a difficult decision with Zack Wheeler in the near future. They cannot let him walk away and become a star elsewhere just like Daniel Murphy did.
Zack Wheeler and Daniel Murphy are two names we don’t see associated with each other very much. Although both were teammates with the New York Mets for several seasons, they don’t exactly cross paths too often.
However, there’s a chance Wheeler does, in a way, become the next Murphy. If he is either traded by the team or leaves in free agency after 2019, Wheeler has the potential to really stick it to the Mets for years to come.
New York allowed Murphy to walk after a historic 2015 postseason. Rather than keep him as the starting second baseman, they gambled on that power surge being a fluke. It wasn’t as he went on to have three very productive seasons elsewhere. In his first year away from the Mets he was the runner-up for MVP.
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Wheeler may experience a similar path. If he does indeed exchange his orange and blue uniform for that of another shade and city, we could re-live the pain all over again and watch as he develops into a star pitcher.
Unlike Murphy, the front office has longer to see how true this transformation of Wheeler really is. He was tremendous in the second half of 2018. Even if he takes several steps backward, they are in great shape.
I don’t believe the Mets will trade Wheeler this offseason because of how important he could be to the starting rotation in 2019. Although they could go in other directions, it’s essential to have depth. Wheeler helps complete a trifecta of potential number one starters alongside Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Together, they should give the rest of MLB a lot of trouble.
Beyond 2019, things get a little more complicated. Let’s say Wheeler does exactly what he did in 2018. Do they let him walk away?
Wheeler will be 29 when he hits free agency. If the Mets don’t extend him beforehand, he’ll potential become one of the most desired pitchers on the market. The Mets, with many needs beyond the starting rotation, may have no choice but to let him leave.
It’s a tricky situation for sure. Wait too long and we may see Wheeler depart by choice. Extend him too early and they may end up with an injury-prone average pitcher earning more than he deserves.
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Whether they can help it or not, the Mets may end up with another regretful decision and a former member of their organization shining elsewhere.