“I hope everybody understands if and when this guy comes, he’s not going to be the savior. There’s a lot of pieces that have to work. One guy is not going to turn this around for us. It takes 25.”
Wheeler, who is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA this season for Triple-A Las Vegas, could be promoted as soon as next week when the Mets return home to face the Cardinals and Cubs. One reporter I spoke to is certain he’ll debut during next weekend’s Cubs series rather facing the powerhouse Cardinals led by Carlos Beltran.
As to who does or doesn’t get bounced from the rotation, Collins kept his cards close to the vest.
“Everybody expects this to happen, and I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Collins said about Wheeler. “When the time comes, it’ll probably be if someone’s not pitching well. If everybody’s pitching good and this kid comes, then we’ll have to make a decision on who would fit best someplace else.”
Collins preached caution and toning down expectations.
“Certainly, everybody’s excited because he’s a prospect, and you look down the road with that arm and that stuff and he could be a good pitcher for a long time,” Collins said. “But there’s a lot of adjustments there that have to be made by him, as Matt Harvey made them.”
No matter what Collins or Sandy Alderson say or do, the media and fan attention on Wheeler will be immense and intense. For two years he has been portrayed as the poster boy for a new Mets renaissance that was going to lead to years and years of sustainable championship baseball and the first true Mets dynasty. Now we’ll all get to see what everyone has been raving about. As soon as he tosses his first pitch, the clock will start ticking.