June struggles heat up Wheeler market

In the book Prodigy by Marie Lu, there is a line that reads “June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces.”

For the New York Mets, no saying could ring anymore true. The Mets finished the month 10-18, by far their worst month of the season. They saw their bullpen go from shaky to the absolute worst in Major League Baseball, as a lot of their losses stemmed from the disappointment brought on by the bullpen. Leading the charge for their disappointing bullpen has been the prized possession of the offseason, Edwin Diaz.

In June, Diaz coughed up an ERA of 8.38, while allowing an opponent batting average of .316. While Diaz has been the poster boy for the bullpen struggles this season, he certainly can share the blame with the rest of the bullpen and manager Mickey Callaway, whose bullpen management has been spotty at best. The team, with its struggles in the month of June, has brought back memories of their 2018 counterparts. In case you don’t remember, the 2018 version of the New York Mets struggles mightily in the month of June. They struggled their way to a 5-21 record in June, and were out of contention much like the current version of the Mets are.

Since the Mets were so out of it last season, they decided to sell limited parts of the team. They sold Jeurys Familia, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jose Bautista to contenders while they remained basement buddies with the Florida Marlins. While it was smart to trade those players without a doubt, all it basically did for the Mets was get rid of contracts that were expiring at the end of the season. This limited the team to some returns that weren’t exactly exciting, and the team has still really not reaped any benefit from.

Now that they have a new general manager, there is hope that the Mets will become more efficient sellers at this year’s deadline. Of course, the Mets are once again in the position where they feel like they are not far away from competing, but there are glaring roster issues. Last season, they were too nervous to tap into their core of pitchers when it came to trade, hence the lack of an exciting return on a trade. This year, Zack Wheeler is once again receiving significant interest, and it seems once again like the Mets are in no rush to trade him.

The difference this year compared to last with Wheeler is that he can walk away from the team once the season ends. For the Mets to not get a good return on Wheeler, who was once a prized return himself in a trade, would be a foolish move for the franchise. Wheeler is not only a desirable target for teams because of his talent and the potential for him to heat up again in the second half, but also because his contract is extremely team friendly. At $5.975 million, Wheeler could be a cheap addition for a team who is looking for one more starter to fill their rotation come the end of the season.

The past two Junes have been disastrous for the Mets. Last season, they made the mistake of not going “all in” on selling at the deadline, and as a result, have found themselves in nearly the same predicament. A great way to change the narrative this season would be to make a splash trade to bring some prospects back, and a great player to start with is Wheeler.

17 comments for “June struggles heat up Wheeler market

  1. Rick
    July 6, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I have zero faith that broken down volkswagon or any of the other useless clowns in the front office are capable of getting anything of value in return for any of the players, and all should be on the block other than McNeil and Alonso.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  2. Peter Hyatt
    July 6, 2019 at 9:03 am

    In speaking if JD Davis, Tomas Nido and Dom Smith before Friday’s game, Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said,

    “I think we have a great core of young players that will carry this organization in the future. We have a very good young core of players that can play at the major league level and that are preforming at the major league level right now. There are definitely high hopes moving forward for the Mets, no doubt.”

    The three players went from “great” to “very good” — they were “great” in the future, but “performing right now”, they are downgraded to “very good”.

    Note that 2/3 mentioned were not in the line up Friday, nor have the three played regularly.

    I have many doubts about Mickey’s autonomy in making the line up.

  3. Mike Walczak
    July 6, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Maybe Diaz and Familia should go down to AAA to work out their issues.

  4. July 6, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Sadly, the Mets could get some good pieces for Wheeler, Vargas, Ramos, Frazier, still have some value, but I have no faith in BrokendownVW. This year is toast..trying to beat out Marlins for last is a joke.
    By the way, last time they played, Marlins swept !! Come and Get Us…lol…

  5. David Klein
    July 6, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Man I thought Al Harazin was the worst Mets gm in my lifetime time but Brodie’s Giving him a run for his money.

  6. Chris F
    July 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    While I commonly think differently, let me commend you for writing what I think is a very sensible, very thoughtful, and very thinking head article. I enjoyed reading it.

    Among the interesting comments, two really stud out to me, and really have very big implications for the team:

    “…all it basically did for the Mets was get rid of contracts that were expiring at the end of the season. This limited the team to some returns that weren’t exactly exciting, and the team has still really not reaped any benefit from.”

    “The past two Junes have been disastrous for the Mets. Last season, they made the mistake of not going “all in” on selling at the deadline, and as a result, have found themselves in nearly the same predicament.”

    This is exactly at the heart of the problem that leads *exactly* to the repeated groundhog day like results year after year. The spinning off of low value parts never results in future success. All it does is save ownership a few rubles in the bank. They do not, and cannot, result in making the future brighter. And so unloading Frazier, Vargas, Ramos etc will have no productive outcome in returned players. Ask Sandy about all the relief pitchers we got back hoping to to find lightning in a bottle. Like “cold fusion” or turning lead into gold that plan is fantasy. It also says the team is near complete and that only minor tweaks are needed to become a quality team. That part is denial, and has left the minor leagues empty of pipeline talent capable of stepping up. This team is miles from being legitimately competitive. One might say the people ready to fill in are better than who we could lose, e.g., JD Davis, but hes not Justin Turner. We also know the AAA team bereft of major league talent.

    I see 2 ways out of the present annual disaster: 1. Ownership must free up significant more money. Most of the comments I read here (and elsewhere) say things like lock down deGrom, Wheeler, and Syndergaard, get Kimbrel, etc all of which require vast sums of money that is not offset by losing the rental contracts of Frazier and Vargas. While this would be great, and in line with a large market franchise, there simply is zero evidence this team is going north of a 160M$ payroll. My thinking always begins with this starting condition. Its my belief all roster discussions should. 2. Commit to getting younger, faster, better, and balanced. In this case, you need to spin off pieces that can bring back potential real returns. Wheeler, Syndergaard, Smith, Conforto etc must be available to impact the future. I would make every person but Alonso and McNeil and deGrom open for discussion. I have misgivings because I no longer trust the FO to make smart moves, but this is the only path I see available to the Mets for significantly improving the team.

    Five years ago the Mets and Cubs were in pretty similar positions, coming off of rebuilds, although the Cubs really tore it down, and the Mets half heartedly did. In 2015 both teams were a little “ahead” of schedule for competing seriously. The Mets fell off a cliff afterwards, while the Cubs have become perennial favorites. The Cubs built a balanced team focusing on position players, choosing to get pitchers by FA or trade (Arietta and Strope from Baltimore for Feldman); the Mets bet on “5 Aces” and decided the rest of the team didn’t matter as long as it could hit homers. Its clear which model is smarter. Go through the Astros and see who you can name thats awesome before a pitcher even gets mentioned: Altuve, Springer, Corea etc. etc.

    Until FO and ownership understand the team needs dramatic change int he whole system, and try to get each part of the system in order, perpetual hell is the fate of the team. We all deserve better than what we see day after day, year after year.

    • Chris F
      July 6, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      FYI, according to Cots, the Mets presently have 127M$ committed pre-arb. They have 7 arb contracts to settle that I expect to be in the 15-20M$ range unless trades occur (like for Conforto, Syndergaard).

      My math says as of today the Mets are already committed to the tune of 140-145 M$.

      Tell me how the team gets fixed with a planning assumption of say 155M$ for opening day payroll?

      [Data from Cots Contracts]

    • July 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      The Mets have made some poor choices and had amazingly bad luck with the guys they’ve spent money on. I mean – it was a bad move to get Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz but there was very little reason to think both that Cano would have a .660 OPS and Diaz would have a 5.67 ERA. If before the season started, someone had offered you those terms and given you odds that both of those would happen — every single person who reads this blog would have taken the bet and started planning what to do with this free money.

      The Mets have to own their poor choices. I never pretend otherwise.

      So, we have poor choices, bad luck and lower payroll. Check out these numbers from Cot’s on OD and end of season payrolls for our two teams:

      2016
      Cubs – $171.6/$205.9
      Mets – $135.2/$156.8

      2017
      Cubs – $172.2/$183.3
      Mets – $154.4/$167.7

      2018
      Cubs – $182.4/$192.2
      Mets – $150.6/$160.3

      2019
      Cubs – $203.1
      Mets – $158.6

      And that doesn’t even take into account the useless salary of Wright and Cespedes for most of that time. OD Payrolls were $135 million different over this time span. Cubs can sign Yu Darvish and have him injured and ineffective and still have money spent elsewhere producing. Mets sign Bruce, Frazier, Swarzak and Vargas the same offseason and they’re injured and ineffective and there’s no money elsewhere to pick up the slack.

      Like you said – payroll isn’t going up. I’ve always advocated for making better choices and have that be the emphasis rather than a hyper focus on the payroll.

      But it sure would be nice to have guys not massively underperform their expected level of performance

      • Chris F
        July 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

        The Cubs did it right. And had the money to back up the plan. No fear of dealing in order to build…not just feldman, but also samardzja etc. And they fired the skipper when one of the best became available.

        They had a complete plan. We get the annual “almost there” plan and its quite frankly shite.

        • Mike Walczak
          July 6, 2019 at 6:25 pm

          Cubs also had Theo Epstein. We were handicapped with Alderson and BVW.

  7. Viper
    July 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    The biggest problem for the Mets is and continues to be that they don’t have a plan they can stick with and do it correctly.

    They needed an experienced GM, so naturally they choose one with no experience what so ever.

    They needed a manager with experience after having brain dead, senile Collins. So they get one with zero experience.

    Then as usual, every GM that comes into power with the Mets needs to make a signature trade. We got the great Cano and Diaz for our best 2 prospects and a potential closer down the line.

    Adding to the stupid trade, he signs players for the same position because we didn’t have enough middle infielders. He then trades 3 more prospects for the great Broxton, etc.

    Editor’s Note – This is the third alias you’ve used at this site. There will be no more new user names approved for you.

  8. NYM6986
    July 6, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Nicely said and couldn’t agree more. Cleaning house early this month before everyone is doing so makes sense. Vargas and Fraser will draw interest from contenders but it is a Wheels or a Thor that could bring a big return not to mention Ramos whose bat is still big. Eat half of Familia’s salary and send him somewhere there is a good pitching coach who can diagnose and repair. Let’s do it like the Astros and suffer for a few years and come back with a contender. We have a good core to work from.

  9. TJ
    July 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    So, agreed on the following –
    1. the Mets have done a poor job annually due to lck of a quality plan and funding
    2. the moves the last two offseasons have been dreadful, and part of the 2019 collapse is due to unusually bad luck regarding player performance
    3. the Cubs have certainly outperformed the Mets 2015-2019, but perhaps not by as much as immediately meets the eye. Yes, the won the WS they appeared in, perhaps more due to opponent than their won doing. They have been in contention each year, but cretainly have not dominated and in some ways have disappointed given payroll and expectations
    4. keep Alsonso, McNeil, and deGrom and take offers on anyone and everyone else. However, don’t just deal for the sake of dealing and certainly don’t deal just to save money

    Additionally, Wheeler has to be dealt. Even if he was willing to sign a deal today, signing him now makes no sense. They can always revisit that in the offseason. Despite being a rental, he should have very good value. BVW desperately needs a percieved “win” on this deal. While the defense is dreadful and C, CF, and SS are annual problems, the Met pitching talent is scary thin and the biggest risk to cellar-dwelling for the next 5 seasons. Even the Marlins are much better situated in that regard. Perhaps Syndergaard and/or Conforto could bring back multiple high level prospects, including some MLB-ready pitching.

    Excluding Jeff, who I see as not changable, the two biggest Met problems are Cano and BVW. Two long term financial commitments that look like huge mistakes at this point…not impossible for turnarounds, but long shots at best.

    • Chris F
      July 7, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Cubs winning percentage and wins versus Mets.

      Cubs
      2013 .407 66
      2014 .451 73
      —————–
      2015 .599 97
      2016 .640 103
      2017 .568 92
      2018 .583 95

      Mets
      2013 .457 74
      2014 .488 79
      —————–
      2015 .556 90
      2016 .537 87
      2017 .432 70
      2018 .475 77

      Im not sure how you can say anything about the Cubs. In the post season every season and WS win. The difference between teams is stark.

  10. NYM6986
    July 6, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Thor brings the biggest return. Under contract, cheap, great potential. Let’s not forget dealing Smith whose value is back but he is blocked by Alonso. He is not an outfielder.

  11. Peter Hyatt
    July 6, 2019 at 4:15 pm
    • Chris F
      July 6, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      Sherman just saying exactly what I have been spouting for ages. This team cannot win as constructed. Period.

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