We heard yesterday that the Mets were aiming for top prospect right-hander Zack Wheeler to make his major league debut next Friday against the Cubs at Citi Field, but it turns out that we’ll have to wait a bit longer.
John Harper of the New York Daily News reports that Wheeler is now expected to make another start with Triple-A Las Vegas before coming up to the major leagues. This means that he’ll likely make his major league debut when the Mets play five games against the Braves in Atlanta from June 17-20.
Wheeler gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings last night, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears that nothing shifted due to the shaky performance and the Mets had Atlanta in mind all along. As Harper was told by one person, the Mets are already so close to the expected Super Two cut-off date that it’s better to play things safe with his timeline.
While Wheeler won’t have to deal with the pressure of making his major league debut at Citi Field, it’s worth noting that he’s from Smyrna, Georgia. He figures to have a rather large contingent of family and friends in attendance for the occasion.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.