The Mets need to trade Zack Wheeler this week no matter what the organization chooses to do with fellow starter Noah Syndergaard.
Zack Wheeler’s return to the mound before the trade deadline should be considered a gift to the Mets’ efforts to rebuild their franchise. Unfortunately, New York’s front office is strongly considering looking that gift horse in the mouth.
Reports from The Athletic claim that higher-ups inside the Mets organization are considering a massive departure from their previous plans. Instead of dealing Wheeler and holding on to Noah Syndergaard, the NL East team is now considering the opposite course of action. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mets may offer Wheeler a contract extension while dealing Syndergaard in the coming days.
This serves as a classic example of a franchise on the fence between rebuilding and remaining competitive. Predictably, the Mets aren’t doing either effectively at the moment. Trading Syndergaard and holding on to Wheeler would only serve to help keep the franchise mired in mediocrity.
The right course of action for the Mets would be to do their level-headed best to flip both starting pitchers for prospects. New York is in an intriguing position given the lack of quality starting pitching available on this year’s trade market. The likely removal of players like Madison Bumgarner and Trevor Bauer in recent weeks has restricted the options available to contenders. That scarcity should allow the Mets to demand a better than normal return for both Wheeler and Syndergaard.
Syndergaard will generate more interest due to his youth, but Wheeler is a pitcher who will also catch the eye of a lot of contenders. His 4.69 ERA on the season isn’t very attractive, but it’s quite misleading. A closer look inside his numbers reveals a FIP of just 3.67. Wheeler isn’t getting a lot of help from his teammates in the field.
At 29-years-old, Wheeler is squarely in his prime as a pitcher. He throws an electric fastball that’s allowed him to punch out 130 hitters in just 119 inning this season. Power pitchers like Wheeler tend to become even more important when the postseason comes around. The point here is that New York should be able to extract multiple, high-quality prospects from any team interested in Wheeler’s services.
It’s time for the Mets to come to grips with the fact that they need to retool the roster. Dealing just one starting pitcher this week won’t be enough to kick start that process. Wheeler and Syndergaard need to be dealt at the deadline to allow this organization to truly turn the page.