Yesterday on WFAN, Sandy Alderson acknowledged that Zack Wheeler could earn a spot in the team’s starting rotation if the Mets do not acquire a starting pitcher before Spring Training.
“It’s unlikely [Wheeler] 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.”
Wheeler went a combined 12-8 with a 3.26 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, having allowed 59 walks with 148 strikeouts in 149 innings.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
Wheeler made just six starts at Triple-A last year after being promoted from Double-A, where he was mostly inconsistent. His command improved during the last year, but it is something he has historically struggled with. He’s very close, and I am excited for his arrival in Flushing… whenever that might be. But there is no reason to promote Wheeler right now if he isn’t ready. Sandy needs to simply acquire a starting pitcher to replace R.A. Dickey. Rushing Wheeler to the big leagues to fill a short-term need can be a detriment for Wheeler, and that is something the Mets cannot afford to do to their future.
Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com:
I’m not too worried about it. He’s not going to start the year on the Mets. I think Alderson has to say this, because it’s foolish to not motivate the young man. Plus, who knows? What happens if every one trips, breaks ankles and can’t go in April. Then what? Wheeler HAS TO get the call, and it would be nice if he knows the organization is confident in his ability to step up. This is the right move. Say it, but everyone involved (including Wheeler) knows he will begin the season in Triple-A… though not for very long.