The assessment series continues on as this time we make our way to the Rays bullpen, aka, the house of horrors. Aside from Benoit and Soriano, the Ray relievers were questionable at best. The Rays in the off season will have to make some interesting and important decisions on who they will bring back, but we will save that for later. This time, I will be assessing Dan Wheeler, son-in-law of Dewayne Staats (the guy with the voice that puts you asleep while you watch the games).
Dan Wheeler finished the season with a record of 2-4 and an ERA of 3.35. Wheeler recorded 46 strikeouts while walking 16. He pitched 48.1 innings in relief, giving up 36 hits, 18 earned runs including 7 home runs while opponents hit .207 against him.
Wheeler has a below average fastball, topping out at about 90 MPH. He relies on his off-speed pitches and locating his fastball against the hitters, but was terrible this season. Giving up 36 hits in 48 innings usually meant giving up a hit or allowing a base runner to advance a runner. It seemed that every time Wheeler was on the mound, the Rays would lose the lead or would end up loading the bases and put more pressure on the others in the bullpen. Wheeler is simply not good. He has command issues and does not throw every hard, even though the opponents’ batting average against him is low, he pitched only a handful of innings and would often only face one batter at a time (he probably couldn’t handle anymore than that).
The Rays have a club option of $4 million on Wheeler for next season, but there is no way they pick up that option, he is not worth the money and with the limited budget, they can’t afford him. Wheeler might return for a lower pay and I doubt there will be too many teams lining up to sign him. The Rays will need him back to help eat up innings or give up hits. Final grade: C -