The New York Mets’ best pitcher, Matt Harvey, is currently sidelined with an injury, leaving the race for the “ace” position wide-open. The team has the ability to make a statement, announcing a guy as their replacement ace, by making him the Opening Day starter.
The Mets were looking to go with Jonathon Niese, but he is also suffering from an injury. Team insiders say that the plan is now to go with Dillon Gee for the coveted Opening Day spot, according to ESPN NY’s Adam Rubin.
It’d be nice to say it was a surprise that they’re not going with Zack Wheeler, but that would be a lie. In various interviews throughout the spring, Terry Collins has made it clear that he will go with almost anybody else before he starts Wheeler, including Bartolo Colon.
This isn’t meant to be a knock on Gee or Colon, but Wheeler should be starting on Opening Day. With Harvey on the shelf, and Noah Syndergaard in the minors, Wheeler represents all the hope that is in this team’s future. If the Mets want to get fans truly excited for Opening Day, they will give Wheeler the ball.
A perfect example is the team the Mets will face on Opening Day, the Washington Nationals. They will give the ball to Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg is clearly the Nationals’ best pitcher, he is young, and he is the type of guy who can excite a fan base.
All the Mets seem to do is coddle their young pitchers, but if there was ever a situation to just let a guy pitch, this is it. Being the Opening Day starter is an honor, and it is seen as being very special, but Zack Wheeler is very special as well.
So to all the Mets’ decision makers: Wheeler can handle it. Give him the ball.