Zack Wheeler pitches to his potential as trade deadline looms

The Mets staked Zack Wheeler to a five-run lead on Tuesday but lost the game. But it wasn’t Wheeler’s fault, unless you want to ding him for not pitching a complete game. Wheeler was pulled in the seventh inning and the bullpen brought its usual trusty fire relief tools to seal the game. Who knew gasoline was a bad thing to use? Wheeler’s final line was 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB and 5 Ks.

For the year, Wheeler has a 4.36 ERA but he’s actually pitched much better than that here recently. In his last nine games, he has a 3.32 ERA and a 1.140 WHIP. And you can make the case he’s pitched better than that, as one game the bullpen gave up a bunch of inherited runners and in another game he went to the well once too often with a high fastball to Cody Bellinger, who hit a grand slam homer.

Regardless, in purely subjective terms, Wheeler looks different on the mound these days. He always looked like a pitcher, with his broad shoulders and his long, lean frame. But now he acts like one out there. He seems confident, like a guy who knows he should get outs when he’s in the game. Of course it helps when he’s hitting 99 on the radar gun.

But perhaps the best thing about Wheeler here recently is that we’ve seen less nibbling when he gets ahead of the batter. In the past, it seemed he tried to throw a perfect pitch and chasing perfection just let to balls and higher pitch counts. Now he’s trying to get the batter to swing at his pitch, which could be a curve in the dirt of a fastball above the letters, rather than punching him out as he looks at an unhittable offering on the corner of the plate.

In these last nine games, covering 57 IP, Wheeler has just 18 BB. That’s a 2.84 BB/9 and that’s a significant improvement over anything he’s done previously in the majors in this category. Last year, he had a 4.17 BB/9 and his career-best mark coming into the season was the 3.84 mark he posted in 2014.

But it’s not just walks that he’s improving on here in the last two months. He’s surrendered just three homers in this stretch. In his first seven games of the season, he gave up 6 HR in 38 IP. He’s limited opposing batters to a .583 OPS in his last 57 innings and it’s not coming with some unsustainable BABIP, as hitters have a .288 mark against him.

The question is if this is just some hot streak and if we’re destined to see Wheeler revert to the frustrating guy he’s been most of his career up until this point. Or is this the beginning of a real change?

Wheeler had a nice 10-start stretch last year, where he had a 2.91 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. But he followed that up with six starts where he allowed 26 ER in 23.2 IP before ending on the DL for the remainder of the year.

So, is it a hot streak? Or is it a guy who’s finally healthy who’s picked up a nice tip or two from his new manager and pitching coach and who no longer has to throw to rotten catchers?

In last night’s game, Ron Darling indicated that the player he gets asked the most by from advance scouts from other teams is Wheeler. This would seem to indicate that other teams think he might be a worthwhile trade target. Do you hold onto the two aces and deal someone like Wheeler, instead? And if the Mets go that route, can they get a solid trade haul in return?

No one wants to see the guy from the first seven games of 2018 on the mound again. But do you want to see the one from the last nine pitching and having success for another team? It’s one of many decisions that face the Mets’ new front office here as we head towards the trade deadline.

Despite the ugly start, Wheeler has a shot to finish the year with a 3.0 or better fWAR, as he currently sits with a 1.6 mark after the Mets have played 82 games. You want to collect above average guys on your club and last year there were only 27 pitchers in the majors who reached that 3.0 level. And it’s not like 2017 was a huge outlier, as there were only 33 in 2016, 32 in 2015 and 31 in 2014.

It’s difficult to think of Wheeler in terms of being one of the top starters in the game, a guy on the edge of being an SP1. The Mets don’t have to think that he is. But if they decide to trade him, they better get that type of return. The former sixth overall player taken is finally pitching up to his potential. He’s a guy you trade for, not a guy to take as a throw-in to a deal.

42 comments for “Zack Wheeler pitches to his potential as trade deadline looms

  1. July 4, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I’d extend Wheeler who looks like he’s breaking out with the help of a new pitch and added velo I’d move Matz, who has more years of control is a lefty and whose peripherals are not nearly as good as Wheeler’s.

    • Steve S.
      July 4, 2018 at 11:24 am

      We’re a NYC team, and we have a guy who seems to have really turned the corner in Wheeler. Keep him and extend him. And Matz, too. Four excellent, still relatively young starters—yeah!

      Then go for it all in 2019, spending like a big-market team should with better bullpen arms to protect leads. I’m not talking about adding guys like A. J. Ramos (for over $9 million!). Guys like Kimbrel, Ottavino, and Herrera.

      • Chris F
        July 4, 2018 at 11:44 am

        Im just curious, how much money do you imagine throwing at this?

        • Steve S.
          July 4, 2018 at 12:10 pm

          Well, the Mets payroll is around $140 million (with insurance for Wright kicking in), putting them in the middle of the pack for salaries. They should be up there with the Nationals and Cubs (both at about $180 million). No excuses for the Wilpons!

          Plus in 2019 we’ll be rid of the contracts of Cabrera, Familia, Blevins, Ramos, Harvey, and Reyes. And Wright’s salary goes down $5 million. That’s a “saving” of about $36 million.

          We should have $76 million to spend on arbitrations, extensions, free agents, etc.

          Why a concern with “throwing” (away?) money? Do fans of the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Nationals, Yankees, Giants, Angels, Mariners, Astros, and Blue Jays worry about that?

          • Chris F
            July 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

            You are living in a dream. That is never going to be what the Wilpon’s do. Its so tired to hear that NY is the biggest market in the world and the Mets need to spend like it. Ok, no one here thinks differently, except for the people with the money. It serves no purpose to just say this time is heading up to luxury tax limit and just prepared to dump 50M$ in salaries to the wind.

            • Steve S.
              July 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

              Yeah, yeah. Of course, I know the Wilpons don’t spend the way they should. But why shouldn’t I complain about them? If every fan boycotted them, they would be forced to spend or sell the team, instead of accepting that that’s the way the Wilpons are? I don’t go to games anymore, and I have stopped watching the games on TV. I also stopped watching some Netflix series when they got boring.

              • July 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

                But why shouldn’t I complain about them?

                Because no one likes Captain Obvious.

                • Steve S.
                  July 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

                  “The problem at this point is that there is a problem.”
                  ― Captain Obvious

                  “Boycott if we don’t finally see the Mets spend like a dozen other teams.”
                  ― Steve S.

                  • July 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm

                    I applaud anyone who tries to affect change by doing the only thing that has a chance to work – boycotting the team.

                    I point out the lunacy of saying that the Mets need to spend more money as being insightful. It’s nothing more than “Sky is blue” territory.

              • Chris F
                July 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

                Complain all you want, but decisons with assets are not based on (1) how much any fan loves a player, and (2) imagination of a consequence-free infinite-money situation.

                My comments are trying to accept the reality of controllable years, finances, a team concept, and trends in how the owners operate. Is it ideal? No. Would I like to see Mark Cuban own the team? Sure. Neither are gonna happen though, so its a waste to even consider it.

                Ownership is never going to lay out 20M$/yr on 4 starters, none of whom won a Cy Young, and only one of which has ever pitched 200 innings. But thats the cost of a deal for these types. So you complain about Seaver (who was already one of the best pitchers in history, so comparing to any of our 4 is very misguided), but let me ask you, do you want the 175M$ contract of Strasburg? what about the 210M$ contract of Scherzer? How crippling will those contracts be…as soon as this season…for the Nats playing .500, in a division where the young and talented Braves and Phillies are better teams?

                • Matt Netter
                  July 6, 2018 at 8:58 am

                  Chris F makes a great point here. How many starting pitchers are truly worthy of the monster contract? Factoring in both reliable dominance and durability the list is quite short – Scherzer, Kluber, Kershaw (durability now in question), Sale, Bumgarner, Grienke, Verlander, Lester. Of course the list of guys with $100mm plus contracts is quite a bit longer than that as you get guys who struggle with injuries (Strasburg, Tanaka, Darvish) or just aren’t dominant anymore (Price, King Felix, Hamels, Cueto, Arrieta). deGrom is worthy of a big contract and I’d take a chance on Syndergaard. Wheeler and Matz have had too many injuries to justify a long-term commitment.

                  If a good offer is made for either of them, I’d listen. However, I would not give them away as long they are still affordable. If either is still here, effective and healthy when they hit free agency, this conversation can be revisited. For now, they both have a lot to prove beyond a few good months of play.

                  One crazy idea is to offer either of them a team friendly contract now – like 10 years, $50 million. Okay maybe 6/42 is more reasonable. How could they say no knowing their injury risks and that it would give them a lifetime of security for their family? If they bust, it’s not a major loss and if they do really well, they become a bargain or super valuable trade chip.

                  I guess I just don’t understand why we’ve been looking down the barrel of increasing arb costs and pending free agency for all these pitchers and haven’t extended any of them. Why have we not given even one of them the Juan Lagares treatment?

                  • July 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

                    Excellent satire in the last graph – made me chuckle.

              • Chris F
                July 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm

                I don’t go to games anymore, and I have stopped watching the games on TV.

                Then why do you care about what they do with a guy like Wheeler?

                • Steve S.
                  July 4, 2018 at 2:50 pm

                  Because I want a good reason to watch again.

                  I also don’t go to a restaurant that has gone downhill. But if I hear that there is a new chef who has improved the menu, I’ll give it another chance.

                  • Chris F
                    July 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

                    Well, keeping Wheeler and Co together wont help. It hasnt so far, so why imagine different for the future? There is no new chef in the kitchen.

                    I reinforce, the Mets have the best starter in baseball, and the team loses behind him constantly. A pitcher is 1 guy. That is not enough to win a game.

      • Michael
        July 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        I agree in keeping our 4 starters. A very nice group to build around. I don’t want to trade one of them for some promising minor leaguers that never pan out. The Dodgers did in the 60s with Koufax and Drysdale and relatively anemic hitting. We let Seaver go for 2 starters in Zachary and Flynn, 1 can’t miss in Henderson and a throw in with Norman. Didn’t work out very well.

        • Steve S.
          July 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm

          Obviously, I agree, since I keep saying this! Thanks, Michael!
          Seaver was 2-3 years older than deGrom is now when he got traded, and pitched well until age 40! Don’t give up “the franchise” again for some dubious prospects!

  2. Eraff
    July 4, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Wheeler has changed his approach in a Major way. In the past, his positive streaks were most affected by his sheer great talent, some luck, and a run of health(maybe that’s the same as luck?). His recent run is driven by a very different mix. He’s attacking the strike zone. He’s changing elevation. His location and pitch selection is more specific and more appropriate to count and hitter and game situation.

    The Mets have some big measures to take quickly….. do they carry these starters forward?…what do they have with Conforto and Rosario and Nimmo?

    Assuming they keep the starters, how do they build out a bullpen, address 2nd base and 1st base, and add productive bench players????

    Big question…Is there a “Decider”—and what quality level can we expect of all of those measures and decisions. Biggest Question—does anyone in charge actually Love this Team??????

  3. Meticated
    July 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Save the arms….build around athletic types…speed and D…give up this HR fetish …change the philosophy and forget these three headed GM monstrosities…find a GM with foresight in talent and give him an analytics geek. If not we are doomed to repeat the past

  4. Chris F
    July 4, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I guess the question I really see is what form of forward model do you envision for the team. In my eyes that determines everything with regard to moveable assets.

    Say you love deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. No trades keep all til they become FAs. You really have 2 years after this lost season. Furthermore, their value lessens as they get closer to FA. On the other side, if these guys have it figured out, then there is merit in “go for it”…more on that in a sec.

    I dont believe for one moment that a blanket extend them all fits into the financial structure of reality. Its fine for dreaming, but has no basis in reality. Just extending those 4 will set you back 100M$ a year. Not gonna happen.

    So I see a “go for it” plan and a “rebuild plan”. I cannot envision the existing “rebuilding for it” (registered trade mark 😉 ) strategy of the Alderson era having any relevance. I also see latitude given to a new FO to partly determine this direction. At the least, I see next year as unlikely to be a full on success given all the transitions that will be going on. Anything other than that is a giant surprise.

    1. Go for it mode. Keep all the pitching. Give arb increases as needed to them. Expect that it may be necessary to eat the contracts of Bruce, Swarzak, Vargas, and Frazier and DFA or trade. They cannot be part of “go for it mode”. This also means signing someone like Machado or Harper and rebuilding the pen. Presently there is no closer. Go after Kimbrel? Also the team needs a front line catcher and second baseman

    1. Starter
    2. new face
    3. Ces, Smith, Flores
    4. New face
    5. New Face
    6. Rosario
    7. Ces, Conforto
    8. Conforto, new face, Nimmo
    9. Nimmo,

    Pen: a lot of new faces.

    I think this is 200M$

    2. Rebuild. This hinges on a couple aspects. The team is in considerable disequilibrium. While there is an argument for top level starting (not elite until we see more innings pitched…and that is improving), it is not supported by anything else. The relief corps is rotten. The team is super inconsistent leaning towards bad on offense, the team is slow, the team cannot field at all. The holes to fill are many, and it wouldnt matter if deGrom was starting every day, the results are still not a .500 team. I really struggle to see that all the sudden the players not doing well can be banked on as improving…this is the drivel Alderson spoon-fed the world year after year. It didnt work. It wont work. There is not enough talent to bank on for a “reboot”.

    I see selling off those assets that get the most return and those for which FA extensions will cripple the team with more bad contracts. I also see selling all forthcoming FAs for whatever they are worth. I think there is room to franchise a guy like deGrom or Syndergaard, but not both. The plan is to get high level, at or near MLB talent in return, and attempt to shorten the tenure to prominence with more athletic, more well rounded players that have controllable contracts. The team fills the gaps with trade deadline pieces as needed. This plan also recognizes a new FO needs to direct this, and gives time to make it happen.

    I think that an accelerated rebuild makes most sense to my eyes.

    • July 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      I think rebuilding is a reasonable option. It’s not the one I would choose with this particular team but I think it’s reasonable.

  5. Chris F
    July 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Ill also add, building around pitching is a plan doomed to failure. A pitcher, no matter how good, is 1 player on the field. The team still needs 8 other players, and to be contenders, they cant just be filler types. So, its a lot of cash to fill in all over if a team doesnt have talented position players. We have proven this. It makes much more sense to build a core of outstanding position guys, fill in gaps as needed, have good pitching with an ace, and then get a Verlander etc to ckear the hurdle.

    Having an elite rotation and bad everything else isnt worth anything.

    • July 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      I agree with your second graph but not your first.

      You need to accumulate multiple good players, enough to fill a rotation and still have several left over. I see no reason why a team with 7 good hitters and 2 good pitchers is preferable to one with 4 good pitchers and 5 good hitters, all other things being equal.

      • Chris F
        July 4, 2018 at 2:34 pm

        Well lets look at the best teams in the league now, and a string of WS champs.

        If you listed the Yankees rotation, the only thing that gets you excited is Severino. They are killers however, and 1 pitcher from potential dynasty like quality. Red Sox? Sale and others…How about the Astros? All the sudden you unload talent on Detroit and Verlander brings home the trophy. Cubs? same. KC? same. Giants have been Bumgarner and a cast of oks. Cards? Same. Each has had absolute elite talent that also apexed at the right time.

        The fact is I think it is easier to fill in a hole with finding an elite starter, than trying to find a number of position players. Thats just me.

        • July 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm

          Yankees haven’t been WS champs since 2009.

          2017 – WS Champs Astros – 4 good SP who were there all season – Peacock, Morton McCullers, Keuchel (12.2 fWAR)
          2016 – WS Champs Cubs – 4 good SP who were there all season – Hendricks, Lester, Arrieta, Lackey (15.8 fWAR)

          To pretend that these WS winners didn’t have good pitching is not dealing in reality. You need multiple good players, somewhere around 10.

          Perhaps you’re right that it’s easier to trade at the deadline for one elite starter than it is for one elite hitter. But that’s a different argument than building around pitching is a doomed strategy. If you want to say trade JDG or Noah because they’ll give you the best return, okay that’s fine. But saying you trade one or both of those guys because you don’t build around pitching – well, I disagree with that completely.

          • Chris F
            July 4, 2018 at 3:51 pm

            yes, I didnt express that well. What I meant was the idea a team needs all front line pitchers is not reasonable. What I mean by building around pitching is what ALderson imagined: “five aces” and no worries about how the team plays. Im fine having a deGrom and a 2, and innings eaters…thats not bulding around pitching.

            But if you give me a list of Lester, Hendircks, Arietta, and Lackey, the only one i have interest in is Arietta and a little bit of Lester. The Astros had no chance until they got Verlander. And the Yankees today have Severino and CC in the 2 slot. I think you need solid pitching and an ace, but you really need 5 start or way above average position players, and a killer closer and 8th inning guy.

            My point really is that adding a #1 is easier at the deadline (usually) by comparison with adding a single position player and saving a team (Ces appreciated)

  6. TJ
    July 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Interesting article and conversation. Happy 4th of July!

    While it is doubtful Jeff Wilpon will ring my up for an opinion, I’ll opine here nonetheless. My approach would be to listen on anyone at the deadline, but stand pat with the controllable assets unless there is a major overpay – kinda like the Yanks got for Chapman. I would certainly move any and every vet possible, this means definitely Cabrera and Familia, but very unlikely for Bruce, Frazier, and Cespedes given the contractual commitments.

    While there has been much debate about building with pitching vs. hitting, and samples given of the Alderson “failure” in building around pitching, there are two realities proven throughout baseball history. First, elite teams need a combination of both, and second, elite pitching usually defeats good hitting. Now, there are other factors. In the adulterated world of AL baseball, I’d be more inclined to value the hitting position player, but the Mets play real baseball in the NL. Is still think they can compete for postseason by building a quality bullpen to go with the starters and by fielding a team that can defend and build some runs through brains and athleticism. Despite the dreadful train wreck that 2018 has been, following the train wreck 2017 was, they may not be as far away as most think. So, my priorities would be 1. bullpen and 2. adding 2 key quality positional players. This may not be easy, but a clever GM could find a way. Cespedes is the biggest single problem on the roster, given the $30 million due him in 2019 and 2020, but there is really nothing they can do about it so pencil him in, let him rest all 2018 if possible, kiss his butt (even if it is painful). The 2019 OF of Cespedes-Conforto-Nimmo-Lagares is basically set. Get McNeil up to the bigs, deal Cabby and DFA Reyes ASAP, and play the kids every day for the rest of 2018. Figure the offseason gameplan in October.

  7. John Fox
    July 4, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I’d keep Wheeler. His bad stretch part of last year might have been because he should have been on the dl sooner.

  8. Name
    July 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I guess i’ll do my yearly fWAR rant here as you mentioned Wheeler’s 1.6 fWAR.

    Avisail Garcia prior to 2017 had never had a fWAR above 0.3. His BABIP in those years fluctuated between .280 and .340 and his wOBA never topped .320. In 2017, he was clearly lucky with a .392 BABIP, which lead to a .375 wOBA and his fWAR shot up to 4.2 Basically, fWAR gave all the credit for the luck to the hitter because there’s no adjustment in wOBA for luck.

    However, the same is not true for a pitcher. Wheeler has a 4.36 ERA, but his season peripherals lead to a 3.66 FIP, which means that he’s been unlucky with respect to hits sequencing and leaving men on base. But Wheeler doesn’t get penalized for not being “clutch” and bad situational pitching because fWAR uses FIP and not ERA in it’s calculation.

    It doesn’t make sense to try to luck-adjust for pitchers but not hitters. They should either try to use a luck-adjusted value for both sets of players and market fWAR as some hypothetical long term luck-neutral value or just credit the luck to the players and assign wins based on what actually happened, which is what bWAR does right now.

    • July 4, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      We put a lot of items under the umbrella of “luck.”

      One of the things under luck is the idea of sequencing. If two pitchers each pitch two innings and each gave up three singles, one pitcher may not give up any runs if two happen in one inning and one the next. And the other pitcher may give up a run if all three singles are in the same inning. And that affects pitchers and not hitters and why we need to strip out “luck” for one group and not the other.

      Another reason is that defense affects pitchers much more than hitters and for two reasons. The first is that pitchers will pitch in front of the same (or mostly the same) defense all year while hitters have the defense they face change every three or four days. And the other is that batters have more opportunity to change the outcome of balls in play than the pitcher does. One obvious example is that the batter can choose to bunt if the shift has no one near 3B.

      But even if things like this didn’t exist, you’d still come down to a theoretical decision. Is it preferable to use a metric that gives you an improved answer to determine true talent or is it preferable to use an inferior metric in the issue of balance? That’s a personal choice with no clear right answer.

      • Name
        July 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        I know you don’t speak for Fangraphs, but to address the sequencing issue : If we are using the triple slash line for hitters, why not just use opposing triple slash line for pitchers? (thinking out loud – surely someone has done an analysis comparing ERA vs triple slash for judging pitchers)

        And on the topic of taking the luck out of the triple slash, I did do a search and stumbled upon xwOBA courtsey of statcast
        https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/expected_statistics?type=pitcher&year=2018&position=&team=NYM&min=0

        It appears while Wheeler has been underperforming his FIP, he has been overperforming his expected wOBA. But we would need to know which one is a better indicator of success to make any predictions.

        • July 4, 2018 at 11:56 pm

          Pure speculation here on my part.

          I think there’s a difference between triple slash lines and what they use for hitter inputs so likely they wouldn’t use it for pitchers. As for xwOBA, it didn’t exist when they came up with the formula. Is the statcast version proprietary? Even if it’s not, perhaps there’s a reluctance to use “x” stats in the formula.

          • Name
            July 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm

            If you go to the Fangraphs explanation of how they calculate fWAR, it states that they use wOBA in their “Batting Runs” portion of the equation.

            I thought statcast was free, but maybe xwOBA is proprietary. I don’t think Fangraphs will ever fully adopt xwOBA for fWAR (at least not the statcast version) because statcast only goes back to 2015, and people love to discuss whether Mike Trout is having a better season that Babe Ruth. Perhaps they’ll release a parallel experimental version of WAR for seasons starting from 2015?

            Anything that uses regression is an “x” stat so FIP is also an “x” stat as it’s an attempt to find a correlation between K, BB, HRs to ERA.

            • July 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm

              The “w” stands for weighted and that’s different from using a slash line. Perhaps you meant using the same weighted components but that’s not how I took what you wrote.

              I disagree with your last paragraph but that’s more of a semantics argument that I don’t have the energy to get into.

  9. Chris F
    July 4, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Snipped from Jayson Stark, The Athletic today – pertaining to Jake

    “In 10 of his 17 starts, he has allowed one run or none. He has been the winning pitcher in two of those starts. But that’s not even the bizarre part.

    The bizarre part is that his team has only been the winner in three of those starts.

    We keep re-reading those stats over and over, but they don’t change. The Mets are 3-7 when their best pitcher allows one run or no runs.

    The Elias Sports Bureau checked back all the way to 1893, the year the mound was set at 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate. They found that no pitcher in the last 126 seasons has been through more games like that in any of those seasons – meaning no pitcher’s team has ever lost more than seven starts in which he gave up no more than one run.”

    • TJ
      July 4, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Confirming that the version of our beloved Mets are historically bad.

  10. José
    July 4, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Has anybody looked at the team that won the 2015 WS against the Mets? KC is like 25-60 or something. You people are too demanding.

  11. Mike Walczak
    July 4, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    The deadline trades for our pitchers will depend on the offers. Strategically, Wheeler is a free agent after next season. It is all a crap shoot. Does Wheeler continue pitching well, or does he slip or get hurt? If I am locking up, I am locking up Syndergaard and deGrom before Wheeler.

    But it also boils down to timing as well. The question is, when will the Mets be competitive again? It doesn’t feel like next year. So if it is 2020, you are in the last year of deGroms contract and his value will be much lower and his age two years higher.

    It is a perplexing situation. Worst case is that the team continues to play poorly and we lose both deGrom and Syndergaard for nothing.

    We cannot follow the White Sox and Marlins model. Traded their studs and got mediocrity back.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Maybe we take less on a deal if we require the acquiring team to take Bruce or Frazier or even Cespedes.

    I hope that we are surprised in a good way with trades. But, with Moe, Larry and Curly as the three headed GM, I will be shocked if they do good.

  12. Name
    July 5, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Just did a quick checkup of my predicted Matt Moore comp – and it seems to be holding up

    Wheeler 2017: 17 starts, 86.1 IP, 5.21 ERA, 80 ERA+
    Moore 2015: 12 starts, 63 IP, 5.43 ERA, 72 ERA+

    Wheeler 2018: 16 starts, 95 IP, 4.36 ERA, 87 ERA+
    Moore 2016 (pre trade) : 21 starts, 130 IP, 4.08 ERA, 98 ERA+

    For those wondering how the rest of the story played out with Moore – he remained solid for rest of 2016 pitching for the Giants. Then in 2017 he went back to being a dud with 5.52 ERA, and this year with the Rangers he has a 7.55 ERA and was removed from the rotation.

  13. TexasGusCC
    July 6, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Not sticking up for Wheeler, and I agree with Name that I would move him before something goes wrong, but Moore has always had arm problems and those whispers persist. Wheeler took shots in his bones to be stronger this year, and we may be seeing the effects of that. Are those shots legal? Aren’t they performance enhancing as they, like HGH, make the body artificially stronger?

    However, whether Wheeler an continue or not is not the point. The point is do we move anyone and if yes, who? All of you above that say you don’t want to see a pitcher do well on another team, be happy with a great return and don’t worry about what they do on their next team. Personally, if the Mets can get a “Von Hayes return” with whomever they move, they can be legitimate next year.

  14. Matt Netter
    July 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Basketball is said to be a top down sport – only teams with stars can win (except for that one outlier 2004 Pistons team). Soccer is the opposite – bottom up, where a team is said to be only as good as its weakest players. Baseball is somewhere in between or a combination of both. Many times top heavy teams can’t win. Look at this Nationals team as a prime example. Depth, coaching, team chemistry, luck all play a role. The key is to just set yourself up for success.

    Few teams have strong rotations, bullpens, lineups, and benches. The great ones have 3 out of 4. The Mets currently have one (rotation, potentially). Our bench would be there too if the team were healthy. But the bullpen is a trainwreck and the lineup needs a big addition – not 3 new mediocre veterans. I think the Wilpons willingness to spend determines whether this team should rebuild completely or partially. If they are willing to open the check book, I believe a few big signings could turn this team’s fortunes around. Let’s say we have $60 million to spend. Rather than spreading it out to Bruce/Frazier/Vargas/Swarzak/ Reyes/Cabrera/Walker type players, we go all in and get a premiere hitter and a bigtime closer. Any remaining holes can be filled by cherry picking free agent bargains during spring training. Plugging holes with solid but not great veterans doesn’t win championships. It’s a recipe for mediocrity, or when inevitable injuries hit, basement ball. Hopefully the new GM trio gets that.

    • Chris F
      July 6, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Ahh yes, the “closer and bat” theory. Sorry. I dont see it at all. Still slow. Poor defense. Cannot manufacture runs. This team is fighting is out with the Marlins for last place in the NL, not the Braves. The Alderson HR offense plan has netted a .480 winning percentage…and you want more of it?

      Who do you propose for closer? Our starters barely go 6 IP. You dont need a closer for 6-8th innings.

      What bat and where do you play that person? You havent had enough of Home Runs ubber alles?

      The rotation is middle of the pack. The numbers say that. Its not elite. The offense is atrocious. The defense is atrocious. The pen is atrocious. The Mets have exactly none of the things that make champions, unless you are watching a different team than me, who sees the 15 under 500, fastest turn around from 10 over to 15 under in baseball history, cant win with a legitimate ace on the mound Mets.

      I dont get it. Really, I seem to be missing something everyone else sees. Maybe the Mayor of Panic Citi needs a valium or counseling. All I see is a terrible team with a couple of really spinnable assets, and think if there is ever hope to get any significant MVP level talent, then they got to go.

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