As Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler come off of disappointing and injury-riddled seasons, their futures with the Mets remain hazy. Though both were highly-touted and, in Harvey's case, experienced a significant run of exceptional success, there's a chance that at least one of them will be pitching out of the bullpen by the end of next season.
Rumblings about Wheeler pitching out of the bullpen started almost as soon as his major league career. As a flamethrower with difficulty pitching deep into games, it seemed to be a natural fit, though the promise of a young pitcher reaching his full potential as a starter was enough to keep him in the rotation even after his 2015 Tommy John surgery. But promise doesn't last forever, and the 27-year-old has yet to show he can overcome his deficiencies as a starter.
One of the issues that has always made Wheeler a frustrating pitcher to watch is his difficulty going deep into games. He has yet to average 6 innings per start in a season, and 2017 was his worst yet, averaging just over 5. Converting him into a reliever would instantly eliminate one of his biggest weaknesses, though it's questionable whether it would address the primary cause of that weakness -- his sky-high walk rate. It would also likely add some velocity to his fastball, which could potentially boost his strikeout numbers. And the smaller workload could preserve his arm health, which is in serious question right now...