Over the summer, the Mets nearly shipped Zack Wheeler to the Brewers in a deal that would have netted them Carlos Gomez. That deal fell apart at the last minute due to concerns over medicals, but it showed that the Mets were willing to part with Wheeler given the right return. However, when asked if the pitcher could be on the block this winter, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said that would not be the case.
“We’re not actively shopping Zack by any stretch,” Ricco told Marc Carig of Newsday. “But as with the other starters, if something came up that we thought made us better, we’re going to talk about it.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his arm, the 86’d Mets-Brewers deal showed that Wheeler still holds considerable trade value. Wheeler pitched 185 1/3 strong innings in his first full season for the Mets in 2014, but underwent Tommy John surgery in March. Over his two seasons in Queens, Wheeler worked to a 3.50 ERA with 8.5 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate.
Armed with a 95mph fastball and a pair of above-average breaking pitches, there was an expectation that Wheeler would take a step forward in 2015, creating a formidable trio atop the Mets’ rotation, alongside Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Rival teams could have similar expectations for Wheeler in 2016 and while the Mets won’t be shopping Wheeler, it sounds like they’ll at least be listening on him. Ricco indicated that the Mets were probably a little more inclined to move Wheeler in July since they felt that they were one outfield bat away from being contenders. Still, the Mets exec wouldn’t rule out a similar set of events unfolding in the coming months.
“If there’s a deal that we think really makes us better, I can’t say we wouldn’t do the exact same thing,” Ricco said.