New York Mets: The Zack Wheeler divorce really hurts now

Zack Wheeler, New York Mets. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Dellin Betances, New York Mets. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The best-laid plans …

Adding former Yankees setup man Dellin Betances along with expected rebound years from Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz were supposed to improve the entire pitching staff from top to bottom, even without Wheeler. Unfortunately, those plans were derailed well before Jacob deGrom’s first pitch on Opening Day.

Syndergaard’s injury now puts pressure on several Mets who are desperate for bounce-back years. Porcello is coming off a season where he finished 14-12 with a 5.52 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and a strikeouts-per-nine-innings (SO/9) of just 7.4. Wacha didn’t fare much better as he finished 2019 with a 6-7 record, 4.76 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and SO/9 of 7.4.

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Rather than filling the missing void of depth, Thor’s absence means that Porcello and Wacha are now thrust into must starters, leaving the Mets thin again. Asking Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman to make starts hurts the backend of a bullpen that could use all the help it can get.

Zack Wheeler’s absence will be felt even harder now, especially facing him within the division four-to-five times a year. It was already was difficult enough for Porcello (2019 WAR of 1.8) and Wacha (2019 WAR of -0.2) to replace Wheeler’s 4.7, but to now replace Syndergaard’s 4.4, as well,  makes the situation much worse.

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Elbow surgery is always tricky and isn’t a sure thing. Syndergaard could have a setback in his rehabilitation which would impact him in 2021 (his walk year) or longer. There’s a chance going into 2021, Jacob deGrom will be the only man left standing on Opening Day.