An open question for some time now has been when is Zack Wheeler finally going to pitch for the Mets. It now looks like it will be June 18, against the Braves in Atlanta. Anyone who wasn’t born this week knows the ‘Super 2′ status of Wheeler was one factor driving the decision. However, although there is no official date for ‘Super 2,’ it clearly has now passed. How do I know? The team the Mets now attempt to emulate, the Pirates, called up their prize prospect, Gerrit Cole. Nobody knows how to hold back talent like Pittsburgh, no seasons over .500 in twenty years proves that point. And so Cole coming up is the signal, there is no longer any ‘Super 2′ risk. Yet, we continue to wait. I guess he really wasn’t ready, and needed more time in Las Vegas.
Here is an exact quote from Sandy Alderson on WFAN:
“It’s a detriment for the development of pitchers.”
Las Vegas is a detriment. For the development. Of pitchers!
So there it is, the Mets GM said it out loud. It’s been counter-productive for our top pitching prospect to spend half a season out there. Las Vegas, a place where “the ball gets through the infield so quickly” a player’s range is hard to access (Sandy’s words), where fly balls carry farther, where the park is small, where pitchers can’t properly grip the ball because the air is so dry. The club better not do this to Montero.
(By the way, big hat tip to Aaron Yorke and Amazin’ Avenue for posting the full transcript of Sandy’s WFAN appearance. Thank you, Aaron.)
Detriment = damaging, as in damaging to progress. At least according to my online version of Webster’s, maybe Sandy has the special Harvard Law version. So, the Plan for Wheeler is to spend half a year somewhere that is damaging to his progress.
On the subject of Wheeler’s debut, I found this exchange on WFAN pretty comical:
- Alderson: Well, there’s been a lot of speculation that he’ll start one game of the doubleheader on June 18.
- Francesa: Is that good?
- Alderson: Unlike most speculation, this probably has some accuracy. [laughs] We get rainouts…
- Francesa: But right now the plan is the 18th?
- Alderson: I think you could speculate that and be fairly comfortable.
Good Lord, why can’t he say a simple thing?
Because they are now waiting because they are terrified to call him up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it starts the clock Sandy has dreaded all along. The clock on Sandy. Alderson has had this tremendous period (for him) where no matter what happens to this franchise it is not his fault. Everything is Omar’s fault! The narrative has been that Sandy is busy cleaning up some toxic mess left behind.
It’s a great story, and as Mets fans we all want a happy ending. The implied pact between Sandy and the fans was that we would sit through terrible teams on the field while he rebuilt from the “mess” he inherited. What does this have to do with Wheeler? Everything. Because by now it is obvious to all that we have no position players in the entire system. The word has been that it’s okay, that our minor leagues are so deep in pitching it will not matter. Matt Harvey was Omar’s guy. Wheeler is Sandy’s guy, his first (yes, I know he needed Beltran to get Wheeler but his hand was involved.)
And the good news is that it could actually work out. Wheeler comes up and is great, Montero follows after the trade deadline and looks good, everyone’s mood is going to lighten. Add in a decent d’Arnaud and a trade for a bat and being competitive in 2014 is not out of the question.
But other than Wheeler and Montero there is not much coming in the system to help in 2014. Plus the idea that there might be enough organizational depth to trade for hitting starts with a productive Harvey (check), Familia (minus), and Wheeler. This makes what Wheeler can accomplish huge for this organization.
This organization has hyped Zack Wheeler very hard since the day they acquired him. The owners have been hearing it too. I’d say the front office has a lot riding on the player.
With the ‘Super 2″ deadline passing there really is no choice now but to let the spotlight hit Zack. Whether he likes it or not, the media glare now falls on Sandy as well.
It can’t be Omar’s fault forever.