Wheeler Makes It Looks Easy in Phillies 4-2 Win Over Mets

The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies faced offensive issues throughout the series, with four being the magic total. The Phillies bullpen cost them a potential sweep of the series, but they had enough of a cushion to leave with a split, winning 4-2.

Zack Wheeler was coming off his worse start of the season and rebounded at the place where his career began. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out six. The win was Wheeler’s 20th career win in 63 career starts at Citi Field.

Marcus Stroman usually enjoys pitching at home but was not at his best as he only lasted three innings. Stroman was pitching with a heavy heart after his grandmother passed away a few days ago. He allowed four runs (two earned), five hits, and three strikeouts. Despite the rough start, the bullpen picked him up once he left the game. Corey Oswalt pitched four shutout innings, and Drew Smith threw two shutout innings, which kept the Mets alive.

The Mets made numerous comebacks against the Phillies and had six outs to manufacture four runs. Unfortunately, the deficit was too much as all they managed was a Pete Alonso single, and Kevin Pillar‘s home run gave them a run in the eighth and ninth inning. While the Mets managed seven hits, Wheeler’s dominance was made it impossible for them to mount and legitimate rallies.

With the loss, the Mets NL East lead drops to four games as they head to Washington to face the second-place Nationals. It will be a one-game stop with Jerad Eickhoff making his second start against an unknown starter for the Nats.

Mets Game Preview: (5/1/21) @ Philadelphia Phillies (13-13)

It is gut-check time for the New York Mets after the Philadelphia Phillies bullied their way to a win on Friday. Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET from Citizens Bank Park, and there figures to be plenty of animosity after yesterday’s fireworks.

The bench-clearing issue between Jose Alvarado and Dominic Smith highlighted Friday night’s game. It slightly dimmed the spotlight on the struggling offense that only managed to put up one run and allowed two unearned runs to score. As professionals, the Mets avoided any fight that would have led to suspensions, but there is certainly frustration and anger heading into Saturday’s matchup.

Alvarado’s could be what the Mets need to wake them up as the calendar flips to May. A victory gets them back to .500 and puts the Mets back in a tie for first place. Tensions always run high between Philly and New York, and when both teams are good, they heighten even more. Look for the Mets to get their offense going early and attempt to carry it through the rest of the series.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker was on the front lines when the benches cleared and gets his chance to get some payback on the field. He is coming off his best start of the season, where he pitched seven shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs. Walks are still a small issue, but he limited the Cubs to just three.

Zack Wheeler has been nothing short of spectacular this season with his 3.13 ERA. In his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals, he went eight innings, allowed one run, and struck out nine. Wheeler also threw a season-high 114 pitches and should be fully ready to match the same number if he pitches well again.

Matchups To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Andrew McCutchen: 1-for-8 (.125), Double, 4 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. J.D. Davis: 4-for-9 (.444), 2 Doubles, Home Run, 2 Strikeouts

Zack Wheeler vs. Dominic Smith: 6-for-13 (.462), Double, 3 Strikeouts

New York Yankees: Reporter proposes trade idea that would net the Bombers Zack Wheeler

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

As the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly looking to shed some payroll, they are apparently open to hearing trade offers for Zack Wheeler, the starting pitcher that they signed to a five-year contract during last offseason. Bryce Harper is seemingly off the table, but the Phils could trade their recent signee and infielder Jean Segura in order to free up some money to make a run at free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto. Seeing as the New York Yankees don’t want to pay top dollar for starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, trading for Wheeler could be one avenue to improve the rotation.

Along those lines, NJ Advance Media reporter Joe Giglio suggested a trade idea that may net the Yankees a pitcher that has interested them in the past.

The writer proposes that the Phillies send Wheeler to the New York Yankees, and in return, the Bombers will trade center fielder Aaron Hicks and swingman Michael King.

For the Yankees, surrendering Hicks in any scenario should be painful, since he is one of the league’s best OBP artists and his defense in center field is still adequate, while King is a useful arm that can start or relieve.

The Yankees would solidify their rotation

But Giglio says that Wheeler solidifies the rotation, and defends his point. “Think about this potential Yankees rotation heading into 2021: Cole, Wheeler, Luis Severino, Deivi Garcia, Jonathan Montgomery. That has real promise even without bringing back a veteran like Masahiro Tanaka or scouring the market for a buy-low candidate like Corey Kluber. Wheeler isn’t great, but he’s coming off a very solid (2.92 ERA, 3.22 FIP) first year in Philadelphia.”

He also explains that Wheeler’s deal isn’t too prohibitive. “The Phillies gave Wheeler a five-year, $118M deal before the 2020 season. Assuming no money is picked up by Philadelphia in this exchange, the Yankees would be on the hook for four years, $96.5. Wheeler’s luxury tax figure is $23.6M over the next four seasons. It’s not an easy pill to swallow for a team that does take the tax into consideration, but it’s reasonable as long as Wheeler stays at a high level.”

For the Phillies, the trade saves them money and nets them a starting center fielder, since the Adam Haseley – Roman Quinn duo hasn’t panned out.

What do you think about that idea?

New York Yankees: The Phillies reportedly put starter Zack Wheeler on the trade market

New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

Last winter, the priority for the New York Yankees was bringing an ace, and they did that by signing Gerrit Cole to a record nine-year deal. This time around, they don’t need a frontline starter per se, but instead, they need a reliable, successful arm to follow Cole in the rotation and perhaps another depth piece. In addition to that, resigning one of their own free agents could be a good idea (Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are hitting the market.)

The Yankees don’t seem to be in a hurry even though they already saw Charlie Morton and Mike Minor ink deals with other teams. They should be exploring all avenues to improve the rotation, including external free agents and the trade market.

Speaking of the latter, a piece of news came up from Philadelphia that may interest the New York Yankees. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Phillies “are open to offers” for right-handed starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, one of the best and most talented free agents of last year’s market.

Olney wrote that the Phils have told other clubs they are “facing a financial crunch” and are looking to move large contracts. Bryce Harper would be their largest deal, but so far, “there is no indication yet” that they are thinking about trading the star outfielder, who can exercise no-trade rights anyway.

The Yankees could use an arm like Wheeler

However, they could be motivated to get rid of their second largest deal, which is Wheeler. The Yankees, as a rotation-needy club (to be fair, who isn’t these days?) could try to send a package of prospects and players to the Phillies in exchange for a very good hurler that knows what it is like to pitch in New York (he played five seasons with the Mets prior to signing with Philadelphia.)

Wheeler put pen to paper on a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies, but they are already having second thoughts about that. The Yankees, therefore, should be at least kicking the tires on a 30-year-old pitcher with a career 3.70 ERA and 3.67 FIP in 820.1 innings.

Will the Yankees call the Phillies about making a deal for Zack Wheeler? Do they have the assets to make a serious run at him?

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/4-9/7)

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

After two straight victories, the New York Mets welcome in the red hot Philadelphia Phillies for a four-game weekend series. It is the biggest series of the season for the Mets, and it is against a team that swept them in their prior matchup in the abbreviated 2020 season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (9/4) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Jake Arrieta (2-4, 6.49 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (9/5) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Spencer Howard (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.12 ERA)

Sunday, (9/6) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Aaron Nola (4-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-1, 1.76 ERA)

Monday, (9/7) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Zack Wheeler (4-0, 2.20 ERA) vs. TBD

The Mets come into the series just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. With the constant failures throughout the pitching staff, they have to feel lucky to have an opportunity to make the postseason. The Phillies have won nine of their last ten, which allowed them to surge up into one of the spots the Mets are trying to chase.

Need Innings?

The only way the Mets can maintain success is with a rested bullpen due to their starters going deep into games. Rick Porcello has thrown the second-highest amount of innings, but they have not resulted in success. He has a 6.00 ERA and needs to set the tone with a good start to open the series.

Seth Lugo hopes to get into the fifth inning for the first time this season. He is almost stretched out fully as a starter and has not skipped a beat since returning to the rotation. One more strong start from Lugo, and we could see his ERA drop below two.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup features two premiere aces. Jacob deGrom against Aaron Nola sets up to be a low scoring contest. Both pitchers have previous strong outings against their opponents throughout their careers. Let us not forget that deGrom also pitches his best during day games.

Zack Wheeler also closes out the series, making his first start as an opponent at Citi Field. He won 19 games and had a 4.15 ERA over 60 career starts at Citi Field.

After homering in two consecutive games, Pete Alonso looks to start a hot streak that carries through the rest of the season. Out of all the bats in the Mets lineup, he holds the most weight when he is hitting consistently.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-31 (.194), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-20 (.650), Double, Home Run

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-40 (.175), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. J.T. Realmuto: 4-for-25 (.160), Double, 9 Strikeouts

Aaron Nola vs. Michael Conforto: 5-for-32 (.156), Double, Home Run, 4 Walks, 12 Strikeouts

New York Mets were close to trading Zack Wheeler to the Yankees last season

New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

The New York Yankees were on the market for a starting pitcher last season, near the trade deadline. And, as it turns out, a rare deal with the New York Mets, the crosstown team, nearly materialized. It wasn’t meant to be, however.

Zack Wheeler, a pitcher the Mets considered trading last July to get something of value in return and not lose him for nothing in free agency – which is what happened anyway – was close to pitching with the Yankees, according to a Friday report from SNY Andy Martino.

However, the agreement fell through and Wheeler finished out the season with the Mets instead and ended up having a good season. In 31 starts and 195.1 innings, he had a 23.5 K%, a 6.0 BB% and a 3.96 ERA, with a 3.48 FIP and 4.7 WAR.

According to Martino, the reason why the deal fell through was an issue with a medical, but not Wheeler’s, but instead, one of another unspecified player. The identities of the players involved in the transaction are not known.

The Mets’ hurler was a priority for the Yankees

Additionally, the reports state that the Yankees were among the most aggressive pursuers of starting pitchers around last year’s deadline, and had the Mets righty as one of their priorities.

Wheeler had a very good five-year stint with the New York Mets, with a 44-38 record and a 3.77 ERA. He ended up leaving for the Philadelphia Phillies in the winter, when he signed a five-year, $118 million contract.

The Mets were awarded a compensatory pick in the draft at the moment of his signing with the Phils, since Wheeler turned down a $17.8 million, one-year qualifying offer.

Wheeler said back then that there was no approach made by the Mets to re-sign him. As a result, he will be pitching for a divisional rival for the next five years, although MLB is currently discussing the option of using spring training divisions. In that case, he will be in the same one as the Yankees.

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler Fires Shot at the Mets

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

Former New York Met, Zack Wheeler spoke to the media about his 2020 expectations and got his last word in on his Mets tenure. After Wheeler denied the qualifying offer the Mets never called back when. Wheeler was not surprised about it and he made it known.

Yes, we know the Wilpons are cheap, but its another thing when an overpaid pitcher calls them out for their cheapness. Wheeler is not worthy of a five-year/$118 million deal that the Phillies handed him, despite the success he had with the Mets. He had a 3.77 ERA over his five-seasons but missed two critical years due to his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. Those were two seasons where the Mets made the playoffs.

Back-Up The Talk

Wheeler has Cy Young aspirations but has never eclipsed the 200 inning mark in his career. It has been six years since a pitcher with less than 200 won the award. When Clayton Kershaw won in 2014, he only missed 200 innings by five outs and had a remarkable 1.77 ERA. There is no doubt Wheeler is talented, but his inconsistency to put his talent together for an entire season keeps him as an expensive 2-3 option in the rotation.

If Wheeler had the talent of Jacob deGrom, then the Mets would have thrown the cash his way. Both Wheeler and the organization knew it was an unlikely scenario for him to stay even though they both had an interest. The Mets acquisition of Marcus Stroman all but guaranteed they were moving on from Wheeler. Though still in February, the comments indeed start the fire of a renewed Mets/Phillies rivalry.

Zack Wheeler rips the New York Mets for failing to pursue him: “It’s how they roll”

New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

It sure sounds like Zack Wheeler isn’t all that happy with the New York Mets. The right-handed starting pitcher signed this winter with the Philadelphia Phillies, a division rival. The deal will pay him $118 million over the next five years. He cashed in big after his 2019 season. He had a 3.96 ERA in 195.1 innings, with a 8.98 K/9, a 2.30 BB/9 and a much better 3.48 FIP.

Wheeler had two consecutive 4.0+ WAR seasons and the Mets didn’t pursue him when he hit free agency in October. He ended up joining the Phillies’ project instead, where he will be a key cog in the rotation.

After Wheeler joined Philadelphia, the Mets inked Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello in one-year, incentive-laden deals to fill out their rotation.

Wheeler said to the New York Post that he talked to the Mets when free agency began. The two sides agreed to circle back later in the offseason, before Wheeler signed in another city. Several teams were in on the righty, most notably rhe Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers.

He circled back, the Mets did not

The Phillies offered their pact and Wheeler talked to the Mets. “It was basically just crickets when I did,” Wheeler told The Post Thursday. However, the hurler wasn’t surprised “because it’s them,” he said. “It’s how they roll.”

Despite the possible connotations of his remarks, Wheeler clarified that he is not sour after the way it ended. He says he enjoyed being a Mets player and remains grateful for the opportunities. But other than the $17.8 million qualifying offer, they didn’t offer him anything.

“Obviously everything starts at the top and it filters down,” Wheeler said. “Whether it be somebody’s fault or not, it starts at the top and goes down. Maybe the top gives them the OK but lower down they don’t want to do something. Or maybe up top, they don’t give you the opportunity to do something but everybody else wants to do it. That’s kind of how it was there at certain points. Everything was kind of jumpy because certain people would want something, others wouldn’t. I don’t think everyone was on the same page.”

The Mets weren’t all that interested in a big-money starter and they showed it.

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler Year in Review

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

Zack Wheeler has moved on from the New York Mets and on to the rival Philadelphia Phillies. He had another productive 2019 season which earned him the lucrative contract from the Phillies. Wheeler was one of four Mets starters to make over 30 starts and helped get them back in the playoff race in the second half of the season.

Much like the 2018 season, Wheeler started slow out of the gate. Through the All-Star break he pitched 119 innings and had an ERA of 4.69 and was on his way to the IL. Much like Noah Syndergaard, Wheeler could not find consistency, he would string together a couple solid starts then put together a start where he allowed five or six runs.

Second Half Push

As the Mets were falling out of the race, rumors swirled around the idea of trading Wheeler to a contender. The idea made sense for the Mets but the longer they kept Wheeler the longer the rumors hung over him like a dark rain cloud. His value had also dipped because he was on the IL and only made one start before the trade deadline.

The one start was a good one as he went 5.1 innings allowing three runs and striking out seven, in what might have been his last start as Citi Field. The Mets decided to keep Wheeler and it seemed to relax him as he had the same second half resurgence as he had the year prior.

In his final 12 starts he had a 2.83 ERA, only allowed six home runs and only walked 16 batters. Wheeler went six innings or more in the 12 starts and finished the season going at least seven innings in his last five starts. Safe to say at that point he was not only pitching for the Mets playoff hopes, but a paycheck as well.

On to Philly

Unfortunately for the Mets, Wheeler declined the Mets qualifying offer to stay in New York then signed a five-year/$118 million deal with the Phillies. The price tag was much more than the Mets wanted to go and it was a good move for the Mets to avoid overpaying for him.

Grades:

Pitching Repitoire: A, One of the best on the staff

Control: B+, Ran into some issues early on in the year but got himself together in August and September

Composure: A, Very hard to break him, much like deGrom

Durability: A-, Despite making an IL stint, still made 31 starts

Intangibles: A+, Bulldog on the mound and a great clubhouse guy, especially through the trade rumors

Overall: A-, Very solid year for Wheeler and he should fit in nicely in Philadelphia

New York Yankees: Is Zach Wheeler a More Suitable Option over Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

The New York Yankees are in moderate desperation for a top free-agent starting pitcher. The top pitchers in the 2019-2020 free-agent market are Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. However, Cole may be looking to head back home and play for either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Los Angeles Angels, who are both willing to pay a hefty price. As for Strasburg, the Washington Nationals may only be able to sign one superstar, Anthony Rendon, so that will leave Strasburg up for grabs. Both of these rising superstars will most likely cost almost $200 million to sign.

With those rumors out, the Yankees may look to explore other options, such as cross-town righty, Zack Wheeler. Wheeler went 11-8, posted a 3.97 ERA, and had 195 strikeouts in 31 games pitched (Baseball-Reference). He was a nice surprise for the New York Mets rotation last season, now, at 30 years old, is at the peak of his potential. With the Yankees lineup, he will get more run support and earn more wins throughout the year. If the Yankees choose to pursue him, they will most likely agree to a five-year,$100 million deal (MLB.com).

Why could Wheeler be the Better Option?

If the Yankees go after Wheeler, they save money for taking on other possible big names. With Didi Gregorius most likely leaving New York, there are rumors of the Yankees trading for the Cleveland Indians star shortstop, Fransisco Lindor. He is a very needed all-around lefty bat and plays stellar defense as well. Another option for the Yankees is to boost the bullpen even more because Dellin Betances is most likely on the way out. There is increasing interest for the Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. This would mean about twice a series, a Yankees starting pitcher would only need to go five innings.

The Yankees rotation will definitely be improved with Wheeler in the mix. Paxton’s second half of last season proved he could be the Yankees’ rotation ace. A healthy Severino can be right behind as second in the rotation. Wheeler would fit in as the third pitcher, Tanaka as the fourth, and Happ or Montgomery as the fifth rousing out a better rotation.

The Yankees would be a more improved team in all positions of the game depending on how aggressive they are in the strong free agency market this offseason. One more piece could make the difference in making it to the World Series next season or losing in the ALCS for the second year in a row. All of the burdens fall on Cashman and the front office, let’s see what moves they make to improve this team even more.