It sure sounds like Zack Wheeler isn’t all that happy with the New York Mets. The right-handed starting pitcher signed this winter with the Philadelphia Phillies, a division rival. The deal will pay him $118 million over the next five years. He cashed in big after his 2019 season. He had a 3.96 ERA in 195.1 innings, with a 8.98 K/9, a 2.30 BB/9 and a much better 3.48 FIP.
Wheeler had two consecutive 4.0+ WAR seasons and the Mets didn’t pursue him when he hit free agency in October. He ended up joining the Phillies’ project instead, where he will be a key cog in the rotation.
After Wheeler joined Philadelphia, the Mets inked Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello in one-year, incentive-laden deals to fill out their rotation.
Wheeler said to the New York Post that he talked to the Mets when free agency began. The two sides agreed to circle back later in the offseason, before Wheeler signed in another city. Several teams were in on the righty, most notably rhe Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers.
He circled back, the Mets did not
The Phillies offered their pact and Wheeler talked to the Mets. “It was basically just crickets when I did,” Wheeler told The Post Thursday. However, the hurler wasn’t surprised “because it’s them,” he said. “It’s how they roll.”
Despite the possible connotations of his remarks, Wheeler clarified that he is not sour after the way it ended. He says he enjoyed being a Mets player and remains grateful for the opportunities. But other than the $17.8 million qualifying offer, they didn’t offer him anything.
“Obviously everything starts at the top and it filters down,” Wheeler said. “Whether it be somebody’s fault or not, it starts at the top and goes down. Maybe the top gives them the OK but lower down they don’t want to do something. Or maybe up top, they don’t give you the opportunity to do something but everybody else wants to do it. That’s kind of how it was there at certain points. Everything was kind of jumpy because certain people would want something, others wouldn’t. I don’t think everyone was on the same page.”
The Mets weren’t all that interested in a big-money starter and they showed it.