The value of Zack Wheeler

NOTE: Today’s posting has to be in the form of a Quick Hitter: I’m in the midst of a move and they’re coming to take my computer away in a matter of minutes. Thanks for your understanding.

Once the Mets finally got to play last night — five-and-a-half hours after they were supposed to — Zack Wheeler‘s talents got to go on full display for anyone who was still watching. He struck out seven over eight innings, didn’t allow a run and threw a mere 89 pitches. “I really would have liked to finish it, but I was tired. After throwing only 88 innings, or whatever it was last year, it would be kinda smart just to let somebody else get the ninth. Like I said, I really wanted to go back out there but I didn’t want to push it too much,” he said after the game. After all, he’d been at the park about twelve hours by that time, so it makes some sense.

I think he gets it, now.

His first couple of years were the direct opposite of what happened last night: in, say, 2014, he’d throw 89 pitches in the first four innings. He’s always had a huge arm; it looks like he’s finally got it harnessed. The Mets will get themselves a new GM shortly. That person’s very first order of business should be to gauge the level of interest in Wheeler’s talents outside the organization. If Wheeler can be moved for as big a prospect haul as we’ve seen other teams take in, it should be done. Yes, I know, we can get all starry-eyed about the monster pitching staff “we” can have next year and all, but we had it this year and look where “we” are. No, the farm needs restocking and Wheeler should be the fulcrum of that task: his value is as high as it’s ever been.

It’s been fun to watch, but we might have to say goodbye.

14 comments for “The value of Zack Wheeler

  1. Pal88
    September 13, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I’d rather see Matz go

  2. Metsense
    September 13, 2018 at 8:33 am

    I’m Sorry Charlie but I don’t have the same view as you. The Mets should attempt to sign him with an extension. He has probably been the 3rd or 4th best starter in the National League for the last 10 starts. He looks dominant. He prevents runs so the offense doesn’t need to produce as much( I know, I know about deGrom, but that’s a fluke). Of course if he can’t settle an extension then deal him this winter like you suggest. Wheeler wants to be a met. He called the front office after he was almost dealt to the Brewers and pled his case to stay with the Mets. I think a fair and Equitable contract extension could be negotiated. The Mets having the pitching of degrom, wheeler and syndergaard they have a division winner but even more important a pitching staff that can win a World Series.

    • Steve S.
      September 13, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Agree a 1000%! Extend deGrom and Wheeler. Thor can wait a bit. Add a good catcher and, above all, improve the bullpen.

  3. Madman
    September 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Wheeler has made a believer out of me! He’s pitched like an ace. Extension? Hmm, Harvey comes to mind. The contracts to Wright and Cespedes seemed like great ideas at the time. How did the Reyes contract work out for the MZarlins and Jays? Gotta check out the market. Maybe an also ran that thinks it’s one starter away will give up some good players for one year of Zach.

  4. September 13, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Unless you’re going full-scale rebuild, to me there are only two reasons here in 2018 to trade an MLB quality starting pitcher:

    1. You know something the other team doesn’t – Arm hanging by a thread, Worst teammate imaginable, 100% sure to leave via free agency

    2. You’re winning the deal beyond a shadow of a doubt

    • Madman
      September 13, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      A 2018 starter making minimal money is more valuable than a starter with a history of injuries signed to a 4 year 60 million dollar contract. Think Cespedes and Wright.

  5. TJ
    September 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I am not sure why we always need to identify pitchers that can or need to go. Elite pitching has been an essential part of winning in baseball since the beginning, and that will continue. Elite pitching is not the sole ingredient in winning, but we should not discount it because of the Mets’ history of inept offense and defense.

    Pitching is extremely risky and hard to project. Nonetheless, the Mets control their starters and should be looking to secure the best players regardless of when their arbbyears end. We need to get out of the Tampa Rays and Royals mentality. Wheeler should now be viewed as a keeper until proven otherwise. Even Matz, for that matter, should be retained unless and until they have a better pitcher to replace him.

  6. Name
    September 13, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Color me as an unbeliever. There are plenty of cases of 1 year wonders, well in this case Wheeler’s overall season still isn’t a wonder because of his horrible start.

    Rick Porcello immediately comes to mind. Been in the league 10 years and 7 of those years his ERA were >4.25, but he was able to put together a magical season and win a Cy Young.
    Jeff Samardzija is another example. Pitched like a top 10 pitcher in 2014. Hasn’t come close to ace-quality numbers in any other year.

    Wheeler has a 2.34 ERA in his last 18 starts. Well, Clay Buchholz has a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts this year – does that make him a stud as well? (Buccholz in 2013 had a 1.74 ERA season which was sandwiched 2 seasons of 4.56 ERA and 5.34 ERA)

    Heck most thought Lugo and Gsellman were going to be rotation staples after their brilliant 2016, and they ended up as complete duds in 2017

    • TJ
      September 13, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Name,
      I hear your point and agree, to an extent. Despite being thrilled by Eheeler’s improvement, I will remain a skeptic until the body of work grows. But even a bigger body of work doesn’t insure future performance. DeGrom very well can have a so so year in 2019, even guys like Kershaw carry risk. The bottom line is that Wheeler is an asset, and a greatly improved asset since opening day, and unless someone wants to provide a huge trade return, which is unlikely, he should be retained as a top 3 starter on the team. Now, if this level of success continues through 2019, the Mets should strongly consider paying him accordingly, unless they fall into a rebuild phase.

    • Eraff
      September 13, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Name… everything you say is true, especially if you think the results “just happened”. I believe the Stats and the Eyes provide a concrete explanation for the difference in results. His approach and his execution are very plainly different than they were before, along with his mechanics. This is a hot streak, for sure—but it’s not Luck. He’s been very different and very, very good.

      Beyond that, I do not anticipate or accept that the New York Mets need to trade every single guy who has earned a pay day.

  7. MattyMets
    September 13, 2018 at 10:55 am

    New GM needs to speak with the agents of all starters not named Vargas and learn who wants to be here long term and how much/long would it take. From there you can see what the return would be for any pitcher not named deGrom. Thor might actually be the hot commodity.

    A few years ago we could have traded Harvey for Xander Bogaerts. Anyone want a redo?

    • Madman
      September 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Pitchers are fragile. They break down frequently. Sometimes they just disappear. The starting pitcher is probably the most overrated position in baseball today. It is now the norm for most starters not to face the lineup the third time. Soon the 5 inning start might be the norm.

  8. Michael Walczak
    September 13, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    So, if we trade Wheeler, who is going to fill his rotation spot? Wheeler has pitched terrific this year and way above anybody’s expectations. I also use the eye test. Wheeler looks like a pitcher right now, vs Syndergaard, who is a thrower. He looks comfortable on the mound and his mechanics look great. So, as amateur GM, I am not trading him. If we want to win in 2019 and 2020, we need him on our pitching staff. Yes, sign him to an extension.

  9. Joshua Cookingham
    September 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I don’t think we’ll get anything of major value in restocking the farm for Wheeler.

    He wasn’t dealt at the deadline because of his injury season, and despite having his best year, I doubt most people will take more than a lower level prospect for him….

    I’d rather we trade for established talent…or even possibly let DeGrom go if he wins the Cy Young…I think its too early to tell with Zack.

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