On Friday, Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the Mets bringing in Jason Vargas as a starter, but has since regretted his initial reaction.
“I shouldn’t have been short about it,” Wheeler said. “Anybody who comes and helps out or team is always a plus. I barely pitched in two and a half years. I totally understand it.”
Wheeler went 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 1.59 WHIP and allowed a whopping 15 home runs last season in 86.1 innings for the Mets.
Original report – Feb. 16, 1:11 p.m.
New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler spoke with the media Friday from Port St. Lucie, FL. In his first comments to the media since disclosing that he had been receiving bone-strengthening injections throughout the offseason, the 27-year-old made his point very clear to the surrounding members of the Mets press corps.
When asked if anyone from the Mets’ organization had spoken to him about his potential role for 2018, Wheeler simply replied, “No.” He went on to say this when asked about the Jason Vargas signing, “I’m just here to be a starting pitcher. That’s what I’ve always been and that’s what I’m going to be. When I’m healthy, I know I’m just as good as anybody out there.”
Clearly, the young right-hander doesn’t have any other plans but to remain a starting pitcher for the Mets. With the addition of veteran left-hander Jason Vargas for two-years and $16 million, there’s going to be quite the competition for the fifth (and possibly) sixth starting spots in the Mets rotation.
Harvey seems likely for the third spot in the rotation. With Vargas now in the mix and Matz coming off of season-ending surgery last year, it’s completely possible we’ll see Vargas secure his place early on in camp. That would leave Matz, Wheeler, and Lugo competing for that last position.
In all likelihood, the two who come up short would then either move to the bullpen or head to Triple-A Las Vegas. Again, this will all work itself out over the next six weeks in PSL.
In the case of Zack Wheeler, taking into consideration his comments today, a possible move to the bullpen looks to have lit a fire beneath him. Though let’s not forget he has spoken out against relieving in the past.