Milwaukee Brewers Rumors: Team “Enamored” With Zach Wheeler?
By David Gasper
The Milwaukee Brewers could use some more pitching before their stretch run in 2019. That much is not a secret, and now that we’re in July, rumors are starting to fly about potential targets.
According to Marc Carig of The Athletic, the Milwaukee Brewers have been “enamored” with Mets starter Zack Wheeler, and tried to get him as recently as last offseason.
Could we see the Brewers line up with the Mets on a Zack Wheeler trade? It’s entirely possible.
The Possibility of Zack Wheeler
It was only four short years ago that the Brewers almost acquired Wheeler the first time. We remember it fondly as the failed “Carlos Gomez-Mets Deal” where Gomez would head to New York in exchange for Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. Wheeler at the time was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and Flores was at Citi Field, crying over at shortstop.
Of course, Mets ownership, the Wilpons, came in at the last minute and scuttled the trade, much to the surprise of then-GM Doug Melvin. The next day, Melvin traded Gomez along with Mike Fiers to the Astros for Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, Domingo Santana, and Brett Phillips. That one worked out pretty well.
But the Milwaukee Brewers have not stopped liking Zack Wheeler’s upside, despite not ending up with him in 2015. After a long road back from Tommy John where he missed two full seasons, Wheeler broke out in 2018 with a 3.31 ERA, finally looking like the hot shot prospect he had been thought to be.
Wheeler In 2019
This year, Wheeler owns a 4.42 ERA, and while that isn’t ideal, his 3.63 FIP would indicate that he’s pitching much better than his ERA would show.
Wheeler’s 2.5 BB/9 is the lowest rate of his career and his 9.7 K/9 is the highest rate of his career. He’s been hurt by a slightly inflated HR/FB rate, but has still pitched pretty well. He’s also been allowing a little bit more hard contact than normal, which may be of slight concern, but through it all he’s pitched well.
The Brewers clearly have seen something in him for several years now, and they might feel they can unlock more potential out of him.
What Will It Cost To Acquire Wheeler?
Wheeler is a free agent at the end of the season, making him a 2-3 month rental. Rentals aren’t bringing as much back as they used to, but there will be plenty of demand for Wheeler’s services, which should drive up the price.
The price will not reach Keston Hiura territory, so no need to worry about that. But it will cost some prospect talent that’s close to the big leagues. With Yoenis Cespedes remaining injured, perhaps a high impact future outfielder could make sense like Corey Ray or Troy Stokes. Or perhaps a pitcher like Zack Brown could entice the Mets as well.
The Brewers and the Mets lined up on a trade during the offseason, sending Keon Broxton to New York in exchange for Bobby Wahl, Adam Hill, and Felix Valerio. How Stearns was able to get all of that for Keon Broxton is beyond me. Van Wagenen is in his first year as GM and spent the past several years as a player agent, not working in a front office. Perhaps Van Wagenen still hasn’t learned other GMs are dancing circles around him, because they know what they’re doing and he’s out of his element.
So perhaps the Brewers could steal Wheeler away for lower price, since Van Wagenen still doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing.
The Milwaukee Brewers are very much interested in Zack Wheeler according to Carig, and it’s been that way for quite some time.
This July is going to be another very interesting one for the Brewers as they try to repeat as division champions and win their first World Series title.