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Mets: Why re-signing Zack Wheeler is a must for New York

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 25, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 25, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler will officially become a free agent in the coming days. The New York Mets should absolutely re-sign him.

Zack Wheeler is going to be a free agent this offseason. The New York Mets claim to be in “win-now” mode, as they traded four top prospects to win 86 games last season. The Mets were unable to make the playoffs, even with Wheeler being a top 20 pitcher over the last two seasons. Letting him walk because he is too expensive is not a move a team serious about winning takes.

The Mets should spend whatever it takes to keep Wheeler on their team because unless they sign Gerrit Cole, they aren’t going to sign a better pitcher than Wheeler. They could trade even more of their decimated farm to replace Wheeler, but how long can the organization operate this way? Eventually, they are going to run out of young talent.

Healthy franchises don’t sustain themselves long term without the continuation of young talent graduating to the major league level. If the team cuts off their stream of top prospects entering the majors, it will damage the long term outlook of the team. The Mets should keep their farm intact for now instead of trading more prospects to fill the hole in the rotation.

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The front office shouldn’t grudgingly be spending money. They want to win, so they should be happy to spend the appropriate money on Wheeler to put them in the best position to win.

Spending is not always the best solution, and it doesn’t always translate into success, but in this particular situation, the Mets will have to get lucky if they find a pitcher cheaper than Wheeler that will perform at his level.

Wheeler is 30 years old. Giving him a four or five-year deal wouldn’t kill the team long-term. The team had no problem giving 36-year-old Robinson Cano $20 million a year until he’s 40 years old. But Wheeler is too expensive?

According to Fangraphs.com, Wheeler is tied with Aaron Nola for 9th in fWAR for pitchers over the last two seasons. The only player ranked higher available is Gerrit Cole. The Mets should not settle by acquiring a cheaper or older option.

The Mets showed that with a few of the right tweaks, they can actually compete for the division next season. There isn’t one right way to build a team, but Wheeler staying in the rotation puts the rotation in the best position to compete next year.

It has been a pleasure to watch Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Wheeler pitch together over the last few seasons. So, seeing Wheeler out of the Mets price range upsets me as a fan.

Next. Who could replace Zack Wheeler?

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Maybe they are trying to save their money for Syndergaard, but that is no excuse given the performance of the team last season. This team needs Zack Wheeler, and I hope they offer him a contract this winter.

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