It seems that for the last decade the Cincinnati Reds have been linked to New York Mets right handed pitcher Zack Wheeler. It hasn’t actually been that long, of course, but it feels that way, doesn’t it?

The Reds were reportedly at his last start, and are also coming back to see him pitch on Saturday according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Cincinnati is in a weird spot when it comes to their rebuild. They are playing well over the last two months, and the young talent still in the minors is getting closer. But right now, they are also nowhere near contention – at least for the 2018 season. The move to acquire a player this trade deadline would be more about 2019 and beyond.

Zack Wheeler has battled injuries for most of his career. In fact, he missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In three of the four Major League seasons that he’s played in he’s made exactly 17 starts – including this year. Only in 2014 did he pitch a full season, making 32 starts with a 3.54 ERA.

In 2018 he has remained healthy and has started every game since April 11th for the Mets (well, every scheduled game for his spot in the rotation, of course). He’s been solid, but unspectacular in that time. Over 99.2 innings pitched he’s posted a 4.42 ERA. That’s good for an ERA+ of 87, or 13% below league-average when accounting for the ballparks he’s pitched in. His peripherals, however, tell a better story. He’s got a solid home run rate, and a solid walk rate. His strikeout rate is well above-average, with nearly a strikeout per inning (99 in 99.2 innings).

Zack Wheeler is 28-years-old, and despite only having 83 starts in his career, according to Baseball-Reference, he will be a free agent following the 2019 season. He accrued service time for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons despite not playing. Assuming that information is correct, it’s an interesting situation for the Reds. That would lead to them buying Wheeler for one season – the 2019 season, and hoping that he can be at least one of the pieces to help take them from the bottom of the division to at least wild card contention, if not more.  He won’t make much money in his final year of arbitration – I’d expect less than $5M. But, to acquire him you would have to probably give up something of value on the farm.

The Reds have more than a few quality outfield and second base prospects that could entice the Mets. There’s also a chance that there’s a starting pitching prospect that could draw their interest. I’m not completely sold on the idea that Zack Wheeler is the “missing piece”, even if the team were to go out and add more than just him for 2019. But, I do think that if healthy, he would be an upgrade in the starting rotation and help them take a step forward.

Joey For Prime Minister T-Shirt

38 Responses

  1. AllTheHype

    All depends on one thing…..price. Ideally they’d try to acquire a similar pitching asset with more control.

  2. Greg

    Sal Romano and Dilson Herrera for Wheeler

    Reds timewarp back to 2016 and kidnap Kyle Schwarber while he is visiting Middletown, while rehabbing in Summer of 2016. Tribe wins World Series. Cubs fans are still insufferable, but we can still point and laugh at them.

    • Gaffer

      That would be funny, Herrera (who we got for Bruce) for Wheeler (who we turned down).

  3. William Arnold

    I think it would be hilarious if we traded Dilson Herrera back, then we basically just traded Bruce for Wheeler after waiting for Wheeler to get healthy lol.

  4. Shamrock

    Dark Knight harvey’s ole nightclub party buddy.
    Now, if we can just teach Johnny Manziel how to throw a change-up, our rotation will be set ’til 2025.

  5. The Duke

    Like all trades, it depends on the price. If we can trade them Jose Siri and Shed Long, sign me up. If they want someone like Santillan or Gutierrez, that’s a hard pass.

  6. Seat101

    No Belinsky is no longer available though I believe we still have his rights.

  7. Alex Reds

    Pathetic. Reds only have so many resources. This is one of things they are focused on. Really? Reminds me of when they couldn’t complete the Cozart trade because they didn’t have time while focusing on Bruce at the same time.
    I’d take Wheeler for free to eat the salary, but this is a waste of time.
    Just putting him on the 40/25 man means you are potentially losing someone better and who has 6 years of control and 3-4 years of cheap control. Reds need players with control through at least 2021, and ideally longer. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense IMO. Move on.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s a waste of time to look into acquiring a guy that’s better than most of your current rotation?

      • Mike in Ottawa

        I wouldn’t give any pieces for this ticking time bomb. He missed 2 full years. Didn’t I also read he is a FA at seasons end? Pass.

      • Alex Reds

        Yes, the main reason is he’s only controlled through next year, he’s oft injured, 13% below an average starter, and the Reds need to develop their own players.
        I’d much rather give the chance to Robert Stephenson or some of our young prospects.
        Sure, they may struggle but at least they either push through and become just as good or better than Wheeler and are controlled for 4+ years at that point or they fail and we give someone else a shot. Plugging in Wheeler does nothing to help the rebuild and could even set you back further by not letting your own players develop. They’ve already stunted one starting spot with Homer Bailey. No need to fill up the rotating with below average players, non-impact, low trade value, limited years of control instead of our own prospects at this point.

      • Doug Gray

        Doesn’t it matter which prospect(s) it would cost?

        Improving the roster is always the goal. Ignoring talent, and Wheeler most certainly is talented, seems foolhardy. Maybe the cost is too high, but just pretending that you shouldn’t be looking for talent outside of the organization is crazy talk, Alex.

      • Colorado Red

        He is a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.

  8. AirborneJayJay

    I’d be more interested in 3+ years of LA Angels LHP Andrew Heaney than I would on 1+ years on Wheeler. Don’t think the Angels can catch the Mariners for the 2nd wild card spot. They are 10 games behind the M’s. Don’t think the Angels would even be interested in Harvey, but the M’s should be after losing Paxton to the DL last night.
    The Reds need a LHP. Heaney is 27 and a former teammate of DeSclafani at Miami. Heaney has a good sinker and a wicked curveball. Angels need a 2B, and an OF. Duvall, Herrera, and a couple of younger cost controlled SP for LAA. Reed, Lopez, Mella, Nicolino and Finnegan are all at AAA almost ready for the Majors. Would like to hold on to RStephenson with the thinking that he is going to have an August and September much like, or better than, 2017. To include Stephenson or Romano, the Angels would have to include OF Jo Adell.

  9. Scott C

    I see no need to trade for a pitcher for basically a year and a half, and the half year is basically a waste anyhow. I would question why do we want a pitcher who is pitching at 13% below the league average. We have pitching options in the minors that we need to see and some (Bailey) that we don’t need to see but will. Unless you can get them to take a couple of low ceiling guys I say a BIG NO to this trade. Let’s not get rooked by Mets again.

  10. GM Nep O'Tism

    Would rather just give up the extra pieces needed to get one of the Mets good pitchers.

    You only get to put 5 people in your rotation, and the Reds seem determined for some reason to give one of those 5 to Homer Bailey. Why fill up another one with Zach Wheeler?

    Take the prospect hit, trade for DeGrom, and actually have an ace again for the first time in 3 years.

  11. SteveLV

    Whether this makes any sense seems to depend on whether the Reds FO is going to do what it takes to really compete next year, which means, at a minimum, adding a #1 or #2 starter and only allowing Bailey to be in the rotation if he earns it.
    If that’s their path, then I’m ok with the “Wheeler for not too much” plan. If that’s not their path, then I’d rather see pitchers with years of control get the starts.
    I may be selling them short next year, but freeing up Bailey’s pay and spot in the rotation seem key to being a truly good team, so I’m looking at 2020 – which Wheeler does nothing for.

  12. Norwood Nate

    Initially I thought he had two years left, now I see I misread that. It didn’t make a ton of sense before and makes less sense now that I know it’s only through 2019.

    Of course everything depends on the cost. I’d be pretty hard pressed to do it for any of Doug’s recent top 14 prospects. I would value their potential upside over a year of Wheeler.

    It also hold a hidden cost, such as taking opportunity from Stephenson, Lopez, or Mella.

  13. Shamrock

    Reds/Mets Trade:
    3B Suarez
    P H. Greene
    P C. Reed
    P B. Finnegan
    P Homer Bailey (salary dump)

    P Syndegaard
    P DeGrom
    P Wheeler
    3B Frazier (see if he can hold down 3B and resurrect things back home until Senzel is ready)

    Three pitchers and one 3B from each team……plus one salary dump on NY, a team that can definitely afford to pay it)


      • Shamrock

        (would you change the package, or do you just have no interest in the Mets starters??)

  14. SteveO

    Wow, Mondile released today. Must’ve really screwed up in Dayton

  15. SteveO

    Doug, do you know why Hunter Greene was placed on the inactive list?

    • Doug Gray

      Yes. He’s in Washington DC for the Futures Game.

      • SteveO

        Thanks Doug, forgot about that. That’s also why Trammell wasn’t playing today.

    • Colorado Red


      Do you have a link on this, googled it, and did not see anything

      • SteveO

        Looked at transactions link on the Dayton home site

  16. Optimist

    Rules question – could there be a sign and trade – as in add another year for the right price to at least get him for 2 years?

    • Tom

      I like the optimism! Could also be a three team component?

  17. Kong

    Lol ata boy Dick. Give away good prospects for a injury ridden below average pitcher with a year left. Brilliant. Lmao.

  18. Herzog

    Could you see any Syndergaard deal, not led by Senzel, Greene, or Trammell? Ie; a Santillan and Winker centered deal?

  19. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Senzel, India, Greene, RStephenson, TStephenson and Finnegan for Sindergad, Degrom, and Wheeler. Go all in but you still have Trammell

    • Colorado Red

      Can’t trade India for while
      (After the WS I think)

  20. The Rage

    Hearing rumors of a Gennett/Bailey deal for non prospects.

    • AirborneJayJay

      I call BS on that one. The Long Island Ducks wouldn’t even take Bailey on even if his contract was paid in full.