Wheeler Has Outside Shot At Rotation Spot

An article by posted on January 18, 2013

Wheeler's numbers

Sandy Alderson, who was a guest of Mike Francesa on WFAN, said that if he fails to add another starter for the rotation, that Zack Wheeler will be in a group that will be vying for the fifth spot in the rotation.

“It’s unlikely he starts at the Major League Level,” Alderson said. “But look, hypothetically, let’s say we don’t add anybody between now and Spring Training. We don’t add a starting pitcher. Now, you’re looking at Hefner, Familia, Mejia. You know, Wheeler pops up in that group. That’s not our preferred result by any means.”

I doubt that happens, but I thought it was interesting to hear him say that.

In the unlikely event that Wheeler did make the team out of spring training, he would most certainly become Super Two arbitration eligible.

I can’t see the Wilpons signing off on that.

Original Post 1/16

Anthony DiComo’s latest mailbag column on Mets.com is a particularly good one this week as he tackles many good questions including this one:

I know that Zack Wheeler is untouchable for the most part. But if you were the Mets, wouldn’t you have to entertain the idea of trading Wheeler and a couple of other prospects for Giancarlo Stanton?

If I were the Mets, I would certainly consider trading Wheeler for Stanton — or anyone even close to that echelon of player, for that matter. While Wheeler is a fantastic-looking pitching prospect – ranked No. 1 by MLB.com in the Mets’ organization — he is still just a prospect. He has not proven anything at the game’s highest level, and he is vulnerable to the same types of injuries that derail even the most promising pitchers on an annual basis.

That said, I understand why Alderson has made Wheeler untouchable. The right-hander has risen so rapidly as a prospect that he now carries a certain “mystique,” as one team insider described it last year, making him ultra-valuable for a team in transition. His name alone gives fans something to latch onto, something to look forward to. Same goes for Matt Harvey and, now, catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

Unlike Stanton or any other non-rookie, Wheeler also still has six full years under team control. That’s a factor. The Mets are certainly staking a big chunk of their future on Wheeler, hoping he turns out to be the ace that everyone envisions. They understand the risk involved and are willing to take it.

I’ve never been one for untouchables, especially when a team is as bad as ours currently is. But I agree with holding off on trading Wheeler. Maybe DiComo is right and like most fans I see Wheeler as the poster boy for the Mets resurgence that’s supposed to begin in 2014.

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