New York Mets must handle Zack Wheeler delicately

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler is firmly on the trading block but must remain healthy to keep his value high heading into the deadline.

It’s no secret that the New York Mets have been actively shopping starting pitcher Zack Wheeler to any team interested before the July 31st deadline. The interest, however, will fade if Wheeler were to sustain an injury before the end of July creating a variety of issues in the Mets’ plans.

The first official scare has unfortunately happened for the Mets as they recently announced that Wheeler would be placed on the IL due to shoulder fatigue. The move puts Wheeler on the shelf until July 22nd, but the damage may have been done with this news circulating to other team’s general managers. The right-hander is expected to miss one or two starts during this span as details are still unclear as to whether this is a cover for a much larger issue longterm.

Wheeler is currently 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA but possesses one of the better fastballs in the league reaching as high as 98-mph on the radar gun. Teams interested in dealing for him include the Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees each in need of a lively arm to fill holes in the rotation.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway has been under fire all season for his decisions on and off the field will have an interesting task if Wheeler were to be made available again after coming off the IL in a few days. The process of most likely still needing to showcase the arm for other teams to watch while keeping him healthy in the process is the definition of his job managing the player. Wheeler missed two full seasons earlier in his career recovering from Tommy John surgery adding to the worries of prospective teams.

The plan for New York should be to get him back on the field after resting but limit his pitch count in his next start to a hard limit. The score at this point is irrelevant until the front office completes any sign of a possible trade before August.

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The Mets are firmly in sell mode for the remainder of the month so don’t be surprised if the fragile tag is placed on a few more names ready to be shipped out of New York.