Sources close to the situation have informed FanRag Sports that the New York Mets have avoided arbitration with right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler. As a result of the two sides coming to terms on Wednesday, Wheeler will earn an $800,000 salary for the 2017 season.
Despite serving as one of the top pitchers on the Mets’ current roster, Wheeler hasn’t pitched since the 2014 season and missed both the 2015 and 2016 campaigns after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The 26-year-old right-hander has two big league seasons under his belt, however, which came in 2013 and 2014. As a rookie in 2013, Wheeler made 17 starts en route to producing a 7-5 record and a 3.42 ERA. In 2014, one year before the Mets managed back-to-back postseason appearances, he added another 32 starts while posting a 3.54 ERA, an even 11-11 record and 187 strikeouts against 79 walks.
It is also worth noting that despite never making a relief appearance as a major league hurler, the Mets may use Wheeler out of the bullpen to start the season. While they have a slew of starting pitching depth, the club could attempt to ease the right-hander back into the swing of things due to his recent bout with elbow trouble.
On the other hand, Wheeler is just one of several Mets’ pitchers coming off surgeries heading into spring training. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all underwent season-ending procedures in 2016; all three are expected to be ready to return in time for spring training.