New York Mets: Zack Wheeler is a starter says Mickey Callaway

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13: Zack Wheeler
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13: Zack Wheeler /

New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway believes that Zack Wheeler is definitely a starting pitcher.

Ever since the New York Mets signed left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas last week, a debate has emerged regarding who will be the odd man out in the team’s starting rotation. Zack Wheeler’s name has come up a lot in these discussions, but Mets manager Mickey Callaway seems to be confident in his abilities as a starter.

He is going to have to earn a spot in the Mets starting rotation, but the good news for Zack Wheeler is that his manager sees him as a starter.

On Wednesday, Mets manager Mickey Callaway spoke to reporters and talked about Wheeler’s role with the team this season. According to Anthony DiComo of, Callaway said that Wheeler is “definitely a starting pitcher.”

Callaway’s statement could certainly be interpreted as a vote of confidence for Wheeler, who has not played a full season since 2014. Many thought that the signing of Jason Vargas meant that Wheeler was going to begin the season in the bullpen. However, he has never pitched out of the bullpen in his Major League career.

This is probably why Callaway talked about needing Wheeler to be a starter in order for the Mets to be the best team that they can be. It is unclear how Wheeler would adjust to a bullpen role. He has never loved the idea of moving to the bullpen and has expressed his desire to remain a starting pitcher.

On Wednesday, Callaway also announced that Wheeler will start the Mets Grapefruit League opener on Friday, as reported by Mike Puma of The New York Post.

We have not seen much of Wheeler since he had Tommy John surgery in March of 2015. He finally returned to the Mets rotation last year and went 3-7 with an ERA of 5.21 in 17 starts. Wheeler was shut down for the season in August due to a stress reaction in his right arm.

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In 2014, the only year of Wheeler’s career that he was able to make it through a full season, he went 11-11 with an ERA of 3.54 in 32 starts.

In all likelihood, Wheeler will be competing with Vargas for the fifth starting spot in the Mets rotation. Noah SyndergaardJacob deGromMatt Harvey and Steven Matz will presumably occupy the other four spots.