The Mets sent Zack Wheeler to the minor league camp on Sunday. It was only a matter of time; Wheeler had absolutely no choice to make the ballclub, regardless of how well he pitched. And it’s all because of money.
Wheeler actually made the debate moot because he injured his oblique after just one Spring Training outing. However it was an impressive showing.
“We saw a great arm out of him,” Terry Collins said. “We know he’s got the great arm. I thought he handled the situation in the clubhouse, you (media) guys. For his first camp, I thought he did a very, very good job of that. I know he’s disappointed. He has every right to be. But he’s going to get his chance.”
Collins said he told Wheeler that just like a certain phenom last season, Wheeler will likely see the big leagues this year.
“I said, ‘You’re sitting in the same seat Matt Harvey did last year. The one thing you’ve got to realize is that when you’re ready to pitch, when you get into games when that season starts, pitch your way out of that league. If you force us to call you, we’ll be calling you.'”
Of course, this is all being dictated by finances; many observers think Wheeler can dominate in the majors right now. If the Mets bring Zack Wheeler up in late April, they will delay his free agency by a year. If they bring him up in mid season, they will delay his arbitration by a year.
Think that isn’t a big deal to the tightwad Mets? Ike Davis, who was brought up in April 2010 and was eligible for arbitration for the first time this year, will make some $3 million this season. If the Mets had waited until June or July to promote him, he wouldn’t be making more than a million.
Just like Harvey, the Mets will wait until mid season to bring up Zack Wheeler. The Mets will probably hope to do the same with Travis d’Arnaud, but I predict that a combination of John Buck’s poor play and his excellent play in Las Vegas will force the issue and the Mets will have to promote him in late April.
The Mets also sent nine other players to the minor league camp, including Collin McHugh, Elvin Ramirez and Darin Gorski, who all had outside shots at making the team.