Chris Walendin, Contributor:
The drumbeat for Zack Wheeler’s call up has increased with his last two outings for Triple-A Las Vegas (12.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 12 K).
Financially, it makes sense for the Mets to resist promoting Wheeler until the Super 2 cutoff date has passed. If they wait, they can avoid an extra year of arbitration and instead get that extra year at the league minimum.
But there’s a catch: The Super 2 cutoff is a moving target.
According to CAA Baseball, the 2013 Super 2 service time cutoff is projected to be 2 years, 119 days. In 2012, the Super 2 cutoff was 2 years, 139 days.
For the Mets and Wheeler, the relevant Super 2 cutoff (assuming that once he’s called up, he remains in the big leagues) will be the 2015 version. If the 2015 cutoff mirrors 2012, the Mets could promote Wheeler as soon as May 15th. This would give Wheeler 138 days of service in 2013, and 2 years, 138 days in 2015, when he’d be up for Super 2 consideration. Just enough to miss.
However, if the 2015 cutoff instead mirrors the 2013 projection, the Mets would be financially incentivized to wait until June 4th of this year. And in fact, the potential exists for the cutoff date to migrate even further into the heart of the season. The impact of the latest tweak to the rule (the CBA expanded Super 2 status to cover a greater percentage of potentially eligible players) hasn’t been fully observed yet.
Ultimately, the primary considerations impacting the decision of when to call up Wheeler will be his development and readiness and the Mets’ big league need. But, you can bet that along with those two factors the Mets’ front office will also have an eye on the calendar.