Mets Hot Corner

Time to Start the Wheel Rolling – Call Zack Up Now

Wheeler Mets

Every Mets fan is aware the injury bug has bitten pretty hard down at Port St. Lucie this year.  Especially when it comes to the perceived strength of the team, the pitching staff.  Johan Santana has essentially been shut down for the entire season after word that he has another tear in his shoulder.  Shaun Marcum has made three starts and has missed time for stamina and strength issues early on, then recently because of shoulder and neck issues.  Jenrry Mejia has been shut down for six weeks for elbow tendinitis.  Even Zack Wheeler missed time after tweaking his oblique during batting practice before a game.  Then just two days ago Jeremy Hefner, the man slotted into the rotation until further notice, was rocked on the elbow off a Carlos Beltran line drive.  Dillon Gee is coming back from surgery last season for a blood clot and his spring has been up and down.  With all these injuries and question marks, the Mets have three starting pitchers that will definitely be ready for Opening Day – Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee.  This is one reason why I think it makes sense for the Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and the Mets to decide to bring Zack Wheeler north to Citi Field.

Why should we let Zack Wheeler pitch in Las Vegas this April, when the major league club has major pitching woes?  Wheeler is clearly the best option we have for a starting pitcher and being that we currently have three of them, his presence would be very well received.  Even if Hefner is fine, which it looks like he will be, we need another starter who is nowhere to be found.  (I will believe Marcum are ready when I see him standing on the mound – his career has been riddled with injuries)  If you listen to scouts and executives around the game you would think there is no reason to have Wheeler prepare more in the minor leagues.  Adam Rubin reported that three scouts who watched Wheeler pitch this week said he has four ‘plus’ pitches and that he has number one talent who is absolutely ready now.

I understand that not calling Wheeler up to the major leagues until at least mid-May will save a year of arbitration later on in his career so we can retain his talent at a cheaper price.  This makes a lot of sense, why would you waste some of his service time on a team that does not have great chances when you believe you will be competing for a championship?  The answer is you wouldn’t, you would keep him down and allow him to hone his skills even more.  But there comes a point where exceptions to this thought process arise.  And this point has officially come with the most recent Johan Santana announcement.  We are in desperate need of more starting pitching, Wheeler according to all reports is ready, not to mention the fact that the fan base could be extremely re-energized by this move.

Fans have been so excited about seeing Wheeler ever since the summer of 2010 when we traded Carlos Beltran for him.  I believe calling him up will show the fans a sign of confidence in Sandy Alderson’s plan and will also be a message that it is finally time to turn the page.  Or to start the ‘Wheel’ rolling.  I know for a fact that there will be many for fans attending games if we were told Zack Wheeler would be standing out on the mound at Citi Field.  Everyone would be very excited to watch the young pitcher we have heard nothing but godly things about for almost three years.  And to see what could eventually be the best one-two punch in the game: Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey.

For all of these reasons, I am asking Sandy Alderson and the Mets to forego the plan of not starting Wheeler’s service time, and call him up right away.  This would solve the rotation problem immediately and would also excite the fan base in the beginning of a new season that not too many are looking forward to.  Starting the Wheel rolling will be a message that this franchise is finally ready to move in a winning direction.  Something I personally can not wait to get back to doing.

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