The St. Louis Cardinals could really use another starter at the Trade Deadline, but one name on the Mets is not a player to go for.
There has been a lot of speculation about where the St. Louis Cardinals should look to make upgrades to their roster with the Trade Deadline moving closer and closer. The general consensus is that the easiest and most likely upgrades are going to come on the pitching mound in either the starting rotation or the bullpen.
One name that was recently rumored to be available is Mets starter, Zack Wheeler. Many may disagree, but the Cardinals should stay away from the righty.
Wheeler was drafted sixth overall by the San Francisco Giants out of high school and broke into the league in 2013 and though he broke in six years ago, he has only pitched in five of the last seven years.
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This brings us to one of the two big reasons why the Cardinals should stay away from Wheeler. In 2015, Wheeler underwent Tommy John Surgery and then due to more complications in rehab, he didn’t play at all in 2016 either. In 2017, Wheeler only made 17 starts while going on the IL twice and then being ultimately shut down with bicep tendinitis. This year, Wheeler has been on the IL since July 15th with right shoulder fatigue.
Wheeler throws a fastball (96 MPH), splitter (89 MPH), changeup (89 MPH), slider (92 MPH), and a cutter (81 MPH) and while a five-pitch starter is attractive, the injury history is scary.
When Wheeler has been healthy though, he’s been pretty good. While a career WHIP of 1.302 isn’t amazing, his FIP is a respectable 3.77. He achieves his success by limiting homers (less than 1.0 HR/9) and getting a lot of strikeouts evidenced by his career 8.8 K/9.
This year, he hasn’t exactly been amazing at any point. With a season ERA of 4.69, he’s gotten a little unlucky with seen in his FIP that is 1.00 lower at 3.67. Still, he wouldn’t slot in any higher than maybe the three spot in the Cardinals rotation.
The other reason to stay away from Wheeler is the fact that he is a free agent after the season.
John Mozeliak has stressed that in this time of aggression for the 2019 season, the team might need to change their philosophy and way they look at trades, insinuating that the organization might change away from their usual approach of avoiding any players that are “rentals.”
That being said, I don’t think Wheeler would be the rental to go after because of his injuries. He is going to be coming off the IL on Friday to pitch against the Pirates, but he is already dealing with shoulder fatigue. Would it really be smart to send off prospects for a guy who may or may not be rehabilitated after just 10 days off?
Just because Mo said that the team would entertain the idea of a rental doesn’t mean that they have to go after one. The preference is probably still to stick to a player who could help this year and beyond (see: Marcus Stroman). With a player like that still very available, that would be my choice for who the Cardinals should go after every day of the week.
Wheeler is on the right side of 30, but is still 29. He has dealt with a ton of injuries in his career and is currently injured right now. His season numbers have dropped off and he isn’t worth the price. Stay away Mo.