In the days, hours and minutes leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline, the Mets paid close attention to rumors regarding Zack Wheeler. The industry-wide assumption was that general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, whose team had fallen as far as 11 games below .500 following the All-Star break, would trade the impending free agent before 4 p.m. ET that day.
Instead, unable to find the return they desired, the Mets chose to keep their pitching core intact. Rather than replace Wheeler with new acquisition Marcus Stroman, they paired those two in the middle of their rotation. The idea was to play not for 2020, but for 2019.