The New York Mets have been hit furiously over spring training with injuries to the brightest area on the team: the pitching staff. With under a week to go before opening day, however, the mounting issues have called many to question if phenom Zack Wheeler will indeed get the nod from Triple-A Las Vegas to join the Mets in Flushing.
While that would be the popular decision, I believe we have all witnessed that GM Sandy Alderson does not necessarily care what others may think, and will not be swayed by the court of public opinion.
Johan Santana was put on the shelf a week or so ago and will not be available until, well, nobody is actually sure about that. Shaun Marcum is now hurting with inflammation of his shoulder, and is not a sure thing to make his first scheduled start of the 2013 MLB season.
Even today, newly minted fifth starter Jeremy Hefner was beaned in his pitching elbow by a come-backer against the St. Louis Cardinals. The player whose bat the ball came off was none other than Carlos Beltran. At least an x-ray came back negative and the Mets revealed that it was a minor contusion.
This is now becoming an epidemic and while we know that Wheeler is a better option than say, Collin McHugh or Aaron Laffey, Alderson will stick to his guns on this call. It looks as if the Mets rotation, which at one time looked formidable with the idea of Santana, Jonathan Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and Marcum has fallen apart at the seams.
While Marcum should only miss a start or so, we may never see Santana in a Mets uniform again. Fans may also see another former Metropolitan making an entrance to Citi Field if Alderson decides to bring back Chris Young to bolster the back end of the rotation. Young was just released from the Washington Nationals when he would not take a minor league deal.
For now, the Mets are almost out of options and will hand the ball to Niese on opening day, followed by Harvey in game two and Gee for game three against the San Diego Padres. After that, Hefner will get the nod if he is healthy and his contusion does not turn into a Mets drama and he is out for four months.
After Hefner, however, the Mets might as well throw names in a hat and leave it to luck. One name that will not be taken from the hat will be that of Wheeler. Alderson would rather hold his ace until mid-June when Wheeler can help the Mets further down the road by way of an extra year of salary arbitration.
The decision is the right one when it comes to Wheeler. Every Mets fan will thank Alderson for his patience down the road. All we can do is hope that the patchwork rotation will be able to hold its own for a short time until the cavalry comes mid-season.
“Rant” your views in the comments section below if you think the Mets are making the right decision regarding Wheeler.