I’ve made it known on Twitter (@Mets_Bro) that I feel the Mets fabricated top prospect’s Zack Wheeler’s recent clavicle injury. Why would the Mets invent an injury you ask? Well if the answer of “its the Mets” isn’t good enough for you then I pose to you this scenario.
The Mets rotation has been an utter disaster to this point in the season: Matt Harvey is the lone bright spot, pitching Cy Young caliber baseball; Jon Niese had mechanics issues; Shuan Marcum rushed back from spring injuries; Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey aren’t Major League pitchers; and Dillon Gee, a solid fifth starter, was trust into a number three role. The Mets are 14th (out of 15) in the National League in team ERA with a 4.50 and are in need of an infusion of talent. It just so happens that the talent is sitting in Triple-A Las Vegas just waiting for the day when his number is called.
After a slow start to the season Wheeler’s last three starts have been as advertised. Over 20 innings he allowed only 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out 19 batters. These performances only amplified the cries from Mets fans to call-up Wheeler and steady the rotation.
The Mets, although they have made statements to the contrary, are weary of granting Wheeler Super Two status - which would make him arbitration eligible a year early. The proposed cut-off date for Super Two players is June 15th so the Mets needed a way to delay his call-up until then. What better way then an “injury,” meaning a minimum of two or three more starts in the minors to get him back on track and make sure he’s “healthy.”
If that’s not enough for you then there’s this. Wheeler’s turn to pitch for Las Vegas would have been today. His spot in the rotation is being taken by the newly signed Matt Fox. I will use MetsBlog as the source on this one since they are generally on top of posting news as it happens. On May 14th at 11:12am MetsBlog reported the signing of Fox to a minor league deal and will work as a starting pitcher in Las Vegas. Not more than 24-hours later (May 15th, 8:35am) MetsBlog reported that Wheeler has a “sore clavicle” and will likely miss a start. The report included quotes from Wheeler’s agent calling the injury “totally precautionary” and Mets Assistant GM John Ricco saying the Mets are being “a little conservative.”
So to recap: the Mets need a starter; Wheeler is excelling at Triple-A; the fans and media cry for his call-up; the Mets sign Fox to start at Triple-A; a day later the Mets announce Wheeler’s “injury.” Call it what you will: actual soreness, precautionary, or coincidence. But I call it pulling the wool over the fans’ eyes. Because I find it hard to believe that a top-prospect on the cusp of realizing his life-long dream of making the majors and coming of his strongest outing to date would complain two days after his start of a sore clavicle.