The New York Mets‘ search to replace Zack Wheeler continues. Alex Wood is a good buy-low option to replace Wheeler’s value.
Alex Wood is as good a buy-low risk as there is on the free agent market this year for the Mets. He is coming off an awful and injury-riddled season with the Reds in 2019, but that’s not who he’s been his whole career.
Wood was injured before the season started in 2019. He dealt with a back issue that kept him out until July, but never went away. He made only seven starts, he was awful, then went back on IL until the end of the season. That was hands down the worst season of Alex Wood’s career. That should affect Wood’s his price range, which should allow the Mets to jump in the race for his services.
Wood made his major league debut with the Braves in 2013 as a spot starter and reliever, the Mets handed him his first loss. He excelled in that role during his rookie season and played a similar role in 2014, though he made more starts. Wood transitioned to the starting rotation full time in 2015 and he was good.
He had a 3.54 ERA and 3.45 FIP at the trade deadline. With the Braves going nowhere fast, they traded Wood to the Dodgers in a three-team trade. Wood wasn’t as good after the trade but still provided good numbers down the stretch.
Wood’s 2016 season ended early due to injury similar to his 2019, though he had been pitching very well prior to the injury. He came back better than ever in 2017. Wood earned his first all-star appearance and finished top-10 in Cy Young voting. In 2018 Wood moved back into that starter/reliever role making 33 appearances and 27 starts. He was good again in 2017 but continued a trend of fading down the stretch that led to his move back into the pen.
Wood is only going to be 29 for the 2020 season and has a history of being one of the best fourth starters in baseball. Over the first six years of his career Wood averaged 134 IP, though two of those years saw him in the bullpen a lot. He had an ERA of 3.29, a FIP of 3.36, an ERA+ of 117, and he limited the home run allowing just 0.8 HR/9.
Wood should come at a cheaper price due to his injury that could be in the Mets’ range. If that’s the case they have to make a move to sign him. Prior to 2019 Wood had never had an ERA, FIP, or XFIP of 4.00 or over. There aren’t many pitchers in baseball who can say that. Adding that kind of pitcher to the New York Mets’ already stellar rotation is the least they can do to try and replace Wheeler.