Monday, June 05, 2017

Welcome to the Blue, Jason Wheeler!

The Dodgers added another arm to bolster their pitching depth. On Friday evening they acquired left-handed reliever Jason Wheeler from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cold hard cash - exact details are not known. He will be sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City and projects as either a fifth starter or long-reliever. Per a Dodgers press release:
Wheeler, 26, saw his first big-league action this year with Minnesota, allowing five runs (three earned) in 3.0 innings in two relief appearances, and has combined to go 55-37 with a 3.70 ERA in 140 games (139 starts) in six minor league seasons in the Twins’ organization. A Triple-A International League All-Star in 2016, Wheeler went 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in eight games (seven starts) with Triple-A Rochester this year before earning his big-league call-up on May 29 and being designated for assignment on June 1. The Torrance, CA, native was originally selected by the Twins in the eighth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Loyola Marymount.
Per Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors:
Wheeler, 26, was designated for assignment recently by Minnesota. He reached the big leagues briefly for the first time earlier this year, struggling through two outings. 
But the Dodgers evidently saw something in Wheeler’s minor league work to like. The soft-tossing southpaw, who has worked almost exclusively as a starter, struggled struggled against right-handed bats in his first crack at the upper minors. But he reversed that in 2016. Over 169 1/3 innings, most of them at Triple-A, he posted a 3.30 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.
BTW, there is something else about Wheeler worth noting. His brother-in-law, Jeremy, took his own life last year, and as a result he and his family have been active in helping those in need of help. Per Mike Berardino at Twin Cities Pioneer Press; "Brother-in-law’s suicide drives Jason Wheeler to help raise awareness."
In the wake of Jeremy’s death, the Wheeler and Walters families have taken steps to honor his memory and help steer attention to the issues of mental health and suicide.

They started a nonprofit called Sharing Kindness and began selling rubber bracelets with hopeful messages in order to raise funds. “Be Kind,” one reads along with Jeremy’s name, while another carries the message, “Make the World a Better Place — Pass It On.” 
“It’s just starting the discussion,” Wheeler said. “People need to know we can talk about mental illness and suicide. That’s the thing, you think someone is doing just find out they’re not. You never really get a reason why. You’re left wondering why. It seemed like things were good and going well, and then you get a phone call that it’s not.”
Should you, a friend or loved one be in need of some help please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 toll free or go here.

In celebration of Jason's trade to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy Baseball card of him. I used a pic originally grabbed from on a 1991 Topps Baseball card design. Below are his career statistics, per Baseball Reference:

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