The Mets, after making trades on Sunday and Monday, held put on the final two days before the 4pm trade deadline, specifically holding onto Zack Wheeler and Todd Frazier. While the general consensus even a few days ago was that both would be traded, the Mets did not appear to be impressed by the potential returns, and so held tight to their players.
Wheeler, who has made 20 starts thus far this season with a 4.71 ERA, is a free agent at the end of this season, and was rumored, even as recently as an hour ago, to still be in play for the Yankees, Rays, and Astros. Whether the Mets try to extend Wheeler or let him walk at the end of the season remains to be seen, but keeping Wheeler in the fold does have its benefits.
The Mets are currently five games out of the second Wild Card slot, and are 7-3 in their last ten games. They also have a favorable schedule for the next ten days or so, and could theoretically make up some ground in that race with a strong August. Having their best five starting pitchers - Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Wheeler, and Steven Matz - will go a long way towards having a better rest of the season. Even if that seems a little unrealistic, I think we can all agree that watching Wheeler start ten more games is preferable to whatever quad-A pitcher would be taking his starts.
Last year’s Qualifying Offer was $17.9 million, which means that it will likely be north of $18 million this season. That’s a steep price to pay for a season of Wheeler, if the Mets choose to offer him one. A longer term deal seems more preferable to all parties, but it remains to be seen if that can be worked out.
Todd Frazier will not be getting a Qualifying Offer from the Mets, and is most certainly not in the team’s plans for the future, which makes it a little surprising that he was not traded. I suppose the market for Frazier just never developed, leaving him on the Mets for the remainder of 2019.