Zack Wheeler pitched probably his last start for the New York Mets on September, 26th, 2019. Wheeler pitched all five of his big league seasons with the Mets.
After a season in which Wheeler went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts and a 4.0 WAR, he is due to get paid this offseason.
In his five years with the Mets, Wheeler had a 44-38 record in 126 starts, and an ERA of 3.77. His reliability in the last few seasons is going to be hard to replace. The Wilpons and GM Brodie Van Wagenen are likely not going to pay for an ace like Gerrit Cole in the offseason.
Here are some potential replacements for Wheeler…
Lockett is an obvious candidate if the Mets decide to look internally to replace Wheeler. Lockett was acquired as part of the trade that sent Kevin Plawecki to the Cleveland Indians last offseason.
The stats for 2019 don’t paint a pretty picture for Lockett, he pitched in 9 games (4 starts). He allowed 21 runs in the 22.2 innings he pitched. That left Lockett with an 8.34 ERA in his limited time with the Mets in 2019. The Mets could see how he performs in spring training, and take it from there.
Miley feels like a pitcher the Mets would target this offseason. Miley has a career ERA of 4.23 over 245 starts and an 85-82 record. He has proved durable in his career, and rotation durability for the Mets next season could be very important.
Miley’s last two seasons have been rather successful. Miley went 19-8 with a 3.52 ERA, a 4.21 FIP in 49 starts between 2018, and 2019. Miley probably isn’t the optimal solution to the Mets rotation question, but he could be cost-effective. Miley’s base contract for 2019 with the Astros was $4.5 million and went 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts for the Astros this season.
Odorizzi falls into the same camp as Miley in that he could be someone the Mets target. Odorizzi is coming off an All-Star season in 2019. He went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 30 starts and had a FIP of 3.36.
With the success Odorizzi had in 2019, he is probably expecting a better payday than Miley so the Mets must consider that. Between Odorizzi and Miley, Odorizzi would probably be the better middle of the rotation pickup for the Mets.
Odorizzi’s teammate Michael Pineda is also a free agent entering the 2019-2020 offseason. Pineda’s career stats are very similar to both Miley, and Odorizzi. Pineda signed a 2-year contract with the Twins prior to the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2018 and was effective in 2019 when he pitched.
Pineda had 26 starts in 2019, with an 11-5 record with a 4.01 ERA, and a 4.02 FIP. The biggest problem with Pineda for 2020 is that he will be serving part of a 60 game suspension for using a diuretic which was banned by Major League Baseball.
This is another internal option for the Mets but is less likely than Lockett. Peterson was drafted by the Mets in the 2017 Draft out of the University of Oregon. Peterson pitched for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies in 2019.
In his 24 starts, he was 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA, and was averaging 9.5 strikeouts a game. Scouts have predicted that Peterson would be the middle of the starter at the Major League level. The problem with Peterson starting out the 2020 season is he hasn’t pitched at Triple-A yet. However, he could make the rotation by the middle of the season debut with the Mets.
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