CLEARWATER, Fla. – Zack Wheeler gave the Mets a chance. Your answer – or lack thereof – will have an impact in the battles of NL Ost in the coming years.
Phillies' new right-hander said he had spoken to the Mets early on in his free agency, and both sides agreed to end up returning before Wheeler signed anywhere. Interest has been reported by the White Sox, Twins, and Rangers, but it was the Phillies who offered Wheeler a five-year, $ 118 million contract.
Before Wheeler signed in Philadelphia, he circled back with the Mets.
"It was basically just crickets when I did that," Wheeler told Post on Thursday.
But Wheeler wasn't surprised.
"Because it's them," he said. "So they roll."
Wheeler wanted to make it clear that he wasn't angry with how it all went. He enjoyed his time as a mead and was grateful for the opportunities that the organization offered him. But the only thing they offered him after last season was a $ 17.8 million qualifying offer.
"Obviously it all starts at the top and it filters down," said Wheeler. "Whether it's someone's fault or not, it starts up and goes down. Maybe the top gives them the OK, but below they don't want to do anything. Or maybe upstairs, they don't give you the opportunity to do anything, but everyone else want to do it. So it was in certain places. Everything was a little nervous because certain people wanted something, others didn't. I don't think everyone was on the same side. "
After Wheeler became Phillie, the Mets signed starters Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha for a total of $ 13 million. This happened after they seemed to be preparing for Wheeler's departure by acting for Marcus Stroman last season. But you'll find out firsthand if Wheeler was worth the big bucks that ended up being the fourth largest off-season order, just Gerrit Cole (nine years, $ 324 million), Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $ 245 million) ). and Anthony Rendon (seven years, $ 245 million).
The 29-year-old Wheeler, who has been with the Mets organization since 2011, became healthy and consistent at the perfect time. In his last two seasons before becoming a free agent, he had an ERA of 3.65 with 374 swings and 105 hikes over 60 starts.
General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen admitted after the signing by Wheeler that "the forecasts we had for Zack – both in the short and long term – did not quite match the market he could enjoy."
The Phillies now valued Wheeler very differently.
"We believe that putting someone at the top of the rotation was our top priority," said GM Matt Klentak on Thursday. "… That's why we targeted Zack Wheeler as much as we did."