ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that pitcher Zack Wheeler won his arbitration case against the Mets. Wheeler filed for $1.9 million and will earn that salary for the 2018 season. The Mets had countered at $1.5 million.
Wheeler, 27, was in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He made 17 starts in 2017, posting a 5.21 ERA with an 81/40 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings. His season ended early, after his July 22 start against the Athletics, due to a stress reaction in his right arm.
Wheeler figures to open the season at the back of the starting rotation. Of course, he will have to prove that he can stay healthy and pitch effectively.
The players are now 7-4 against their respective teams in arbitration hearings this year. Wheeler joins Mookie Betts, Adeiny Hechavarria, Shelby Miller, Ken Giles, Justin Bour, and Yolmer Sanchez as players who have won. Eugenio Suarez, Roberto Osuna, J.T. Realmuto, and Justin Grimm (reported today by Bob Nightengale) have lost.
The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.
Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.