Mets starter Zack Wheeler was at the center of multiple trade rumors this summer and he nearly got dealt to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez in late July. But the Mets claim they are not spending their winter initiating discussions involving the 25-year-old right-hander.
“We’re not actively shopping Zack by any stretch,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Marc Carig of Newsday. “But as with the other starters, if something came up that we thought made us better, we’re going to talk about it.”
Wheeler missed the entire 2015 season following Tommy John surgery. He should be 100 percent near the end of spring training in 2016, but the Mets have five good starters under contract between Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Jon Niese.
Wheeler posted a cool 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts over 185 1/3 innings in 2014. He was acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran back in 2011.
Mark Buehrle shot down the early-October reports that he was planning to retire this winter, but the veteran free agent starter only has eyes for one club. Via Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun …
Buehrle will either retire or pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, his home town team.
Buehrle grew up in St. Charles, a western suburb of St. Louis, and he’s been linked to the Cardinals in both free agent and trade rumors throughout his 16-year major league career. Lance Lynn undergoing Tommy John surgery last week suddenly makes it a pretty perfect fit.
Buehrle, 36, registered a 3.81 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 198 2/3 innings this past season for the American League East-champion Blue Jays. It was the first time he had fallen short of the 200-inning mark since 2000.
Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Jaime Garcia are currently locked into rotation spots for the Cardinals for 2016. Top pitching prospect Alex Reyes was busted for marijuana use earlier this month.
There’s word from multiple sources that the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization will post outfielder Ah-seop Son for blind bids on Monday. Son doesn’t have the gaudy KBO numbers of a Byung-ho Park, who drew a $12.85 million bid from the Twins last week, but the 27-year-old should do pretty well for himself.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun believes the Orioles will make a play for Son, just as they did (unsuccessfully) for Park.
Something in the $5-6 million range sounds right for this particular blind bidding, but we’ve already seen the monetary effects of Jung Ho Kang‘s immediate major league success. Pittsburgh won the rights to negotiate with Kang for a lowly $5 million bid last winter and then watched him slash .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI, and 60 runs scored in 126 games.
Son, 27, hit .317/.406/.472 with 13 homers and 11 steals in 116 games this past season for Lotte.
Hey, it’s mid-November and we’ve got an actual baseball highlight …
Blue Jays first base prospect Rowdy Tellez battled a set of lights, his own momentum, his teammates’ confusion, and a piece of gum to pull off this ugly but effective catch during Saturday night’s Military Appreciation Game in the Arizona Fall League.
The Surprise Saguaros wound up defeating the Salt River Rafters in 10 innings behind home runs from Cardinals prospects Aledmys Diaz and Mike Ohlman.
Here’s a juicy early-offseason rumor …
According to ESPN’s Jonah Keri, the Braves are discussing a trade involving star shortstop Andrelton Simmons with a team from the National League West.
It’s easy to rule out the Giants because they have 2015 Gold Glove winner Brandon Crawford at shortstop and 2015 Rookie of the Year finalist Matt Duffy at third base. And we can probably rule out the Rockies too because they don’t have the kind of top-level prospects that would entice Atlanta.
Maybe the Dodgers? Corey Seager will probably have to be moved to third base eventually.
Or the Padres? They need help all around their infield and second-year general manager A.J. Preller has been very aggressive with trade acquisitions since his arrival.
Arizona would make some sense too.
Simmons has not progressed offensively since showing positive signs at the plate in 2013, but he’s an all-timer defensively at short with a lot of upside at age 26.