Zach Wheeler an Option for Padres Staff in 2019?

Credit: USA Today Sports

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the Padres in search of potential starting pitchers for the 2019 season, would Mets’ right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler be a good option for the team?

It is no secret that the San Diego Padres need assistance with their starting staff to make it through 2019.

At this rate, there is no way that the five or six men that make up the rotation currently will make it through August and September. It’s just not possible. One way or another, the team will need extra arms to lighten the load on this young pitching staff. That can’t risk damaging them by overworking the young hurlers.

There have been several rumors about the Padres possibly talking trade for Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Trevor Bauer among others. The need is there for the team, and all indications are that the Padres will have to make a trade eventually. One name and a pitcher who is arguably undervalued right now is New York Mets’ right-hander Zack Wheeler.

The Mets continue to fall out of the race, and there are whispers that the team could be restructured again very soon. Wheeler is in the last year of his contract and due for free agency at the end of the 2019 season. He will be dealt if the New York Mets are not in a pennant race. Enter A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres.

The fact Wheeler is not under control for more than the 2019 season makes him a strange possible addition for the Padres, but hear me out. His cost via trade will not be as lofty as Stroman or Bauer. The Padres could package a Dauris Valdez or Ronald Bolanos type pitcher or two for his services without damaging the future of the organization. The Mets would love a few live arms with potential for Wheeler when it is all said and done. The Padres have plenty of depth in the minors to pull the trigger.

Very soon, the Padres will have seven to nine men competing for a rotation spot (Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi, Matt Strahm, Eric Lauer, Cal Quantrill, Logan Allen, Pedro Avila, MacKenzie Gore, and Nick Margevicius). The problem for the Padres is not finding arms, it is producing arms that can go over 200 innings in a major league season. Wheeler would only help assist the team in 2019, and not necessarily be counted on beyond that. That could be a bonus depending on cost via trade.

Wheeler is 3-3 this season with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.372 WHIP. He has struck out 70 batters in 62 innings pitched for the Mets. You would have to think that Darren Balsley might be able to work his magic on the 29-year-old power pitcher. Wheeler has a high 90’s fastball that he spots well. There is plenty of upside with him, and one would argue he has yet to reach his potential. Last season, the pitcher produced a 12-7 record with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.124 WHIP in 182 innings for New York. He was very undervalued last season in the Big Apple.

Peter Gammons suggests the Padres try to trade and sign Zack Wheeler to an extension. That is an option, but only after the pitcher showcases his skills for the team. There are some arm concerns with Wheeler, and that is a factor in all this speculation as well. The Padres need a pitcher or two who can be at full strength in August and September. As the summer drags on and innings start to pile up on this Friar starting staff, there will be a desire to do something.

Luis Perdomo and Bryan Mitchell are in the minors, and Robbie Erlin and Adam Warren are capable of starting, but you have to figure the Padres will do something to protect the future of their rotation. Zack Wheeler could be a low-cost option. The Padres think outside the box. That is for certain.

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7 thoughts on “Zach Wheeler an Option for Padres Staff in 2019?

  1. You are delusional if you think after all the Mets have been through with Wheeler , that they would trade them to the Padres for a song. If they trade him at all they would get major league ready player(s). Not some bums that the Padres have.

  2. Good thoughts James, I like the idea of trading for someone who can take the load off of the young guys who are on innings limits and at the same time not having to give up too much. We all know that soon the Padres will be up against a 40 man roster issue and possibly lose guys to the Rule 5 draft.
    Also, know that of course “Tanned Tom” will have negative thoughts and turn your article into a “Manager hating session”. Rare that there is a post that does not go there.

  3. Wheeler, meh. A decent pitcher, sure, but no way he goes 200 innings. And realistically, pitchers don’t go 200 anymore. Teams are more bullpen oriented, so 180 is the new 200.
    You neglect to mention that one way to deal with a staff that has workload limits is to skip them sometimes in the rotation, another is to pull them quickly when they run into a big inning. But of course you’d have to have a manager who understands that concept and carves out a role as long reliever/spot starter for two guys. Two guys like, oh, Erlin and Warren? Or anyone else, it doesn’t have to be those guys.
    So sure, trade for Wheeler if he can be had as cheaply as you suggest. But don’t give up on swinging a bigger trade for someone like Syndergaard, who will be around for years.

  4. If it would be as easy to sign Wheeler as Gammons seems to think it is it would make more sense to not trade for him and sign him in the offseason for nothing but $.

    1. It may be much easier to sign him if he were on the team for half of a season. Baseball players are human beings. Human beings value social relationships. If he enjoyed his time in the clubhouse and found Petco Park and San Diego to his liking, the negotiation process would certainly be easier. A half-season head start in a sales pitch is not without value.

      There’s also the value of having him on the team down the stretch when the Padres could potentially be chasing a Wild Card berth.

      1. There’s also the fact that Wheeler might NOT enjoy his time in San Diego and this would make him LESS inclined to sign there. There’s also the fact that Wheeler will cost one (if not multiple) top 100 prospects, not the type of thing you give up in order to MAYBE have a marginally better chance of signing him.

        Bottom line, Padres trade for Wheeler and it’s more likely they get another Justin Upton/Freddy Galvis situation than it makes a significant difference in their odds of signing him.

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