Zack Wheeler Gets Last Word And May Get Last Laugh

When discussing Zack Wheeler, there are some important things to consider. Aside from being an ace level pitcher the past two years, Wheeler wanted to be a Met.

He called Sandy Alderson to tell him he wanted to stay when the Carlos Gomez fell apart. He also came back to the Mets before accepting a discounted deal with the Phillies. Overall, every chance he got, Wheeler averred how much he wanted to remain in the Mets rotation.

Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t care.

Now, these are always difficult situations, and to be fair, there are very few things you can say to come across well. Still, when you offer comments, the goal is to offer platitudes and leave no room for hard feelings. After all, you’re not only dealing with a player who spent many years with the Mets, but you’re also going to have to face him over the next five years.

Van Wagenen botched it saying, ““The value for what we thought the investment [was] didn’t line up. The projections that we had for Zack both short-term and long-term didn’t quite match up to the market he was able to enjoy.” (Tim Healey, Newsday).

Again, this is a player who wanted to be a Met. He was a good Met too. There’s no need to say he wasn’t worth the money. Really, there’s no need to even go there.

It boils down to decency, but beyond that, you don’t want someone with an extra chip on their shoulder to beat you time and again over the next five years.

Well, Van Wagenen decided differently, and Wheeler noticed. As noted in Kevin Kernan’s article in the New York Post, boy did he notice:

“I don’t need any more motivation. I already got it,’’ Wheeler told The Post away from the crush of media. “But that’s his opinion. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but yeah, that may help me out a little bit.’’

Basically, Van Wagenen took a bit of a shot at Wheeler, and Wheeler got the last word. Not only did Wheeler note he’s a little more motivated, but he also took a real shot by following this up by saying, “He watched me I guess when he was watching his other players on the team.”

The “his players” is a barb which hits home with Mets fans.

It’s a reminder of how Van Wagenen traded Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn in a deal to get his former client Robinson Cano out of Seattle and back to New York like he wanted.

Jed Lowrie got a two year deal worth $20 million, and in the first year, he had only eight pinch hitting attempts.

At a time when the Mets needed a fifth starter, he signed Michael Wacha, who has a bum shoulder, and when you break it down, he needs to prove he’s capable of being a Major League starter again. Instead of the minor league deal he should’ve received, the CAA client got a Major League deal and was told he’d start.

Perhaps, this is what Wheeler meant when he said “his players.” Maybe it was a Freudian slip. It’s possibly Wheeler was just calling his former teammates Van Wagenen’s guys because they’re still there.

Whatever the case, it’s apparent Wheeler feels slighted. Now, he’s in a position to both beat the Mets and needle them like he did when talking about the Phillies’ analytic department and J.T. Realmuto.

In doing that, Wheeler got the last word. If he pitches like he did over the last two years, he’s going to get the last laugh.

8 Replies to “Zack Wheeler Gets Last Word And May Get Last Laugh”

  1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Ticking off the player with a slap as he’s on his way out is ridiculous, but it’s not a surprise Wags would do it. After all, he’s a Wilpon pal, a car salesman with an expensive haircut who still hasn’t improved Syracuse an inch over the abomination it was going into the 2019 season, evidence he’s learned nothing to date despite having over a year on the job. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn he was taking instructions from ownership to poormouth the player, as they often do, in order to try in vain not to look cheap.

    What could the Mets have gotten Wheeler for had they made a fair offer, splitting the difference with the player on risk and reward at the 2018 ASB? Or at the end of the 2018 season. Or at the 2019 ASB? So instead of Zack Wheeler in the 2020 rotation we’ve got Rick “highest ERA in 2019 among qualified starters” Porcello and what’s left of Michael Wacha’s career.

    —Yeah, something’s definitely up with Wags’ former clients being brought to the Mets. What are the odds the poor players he’d spend a hundred million dollars on would just happen to be former clients, old, in decline, and injured to boot?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      My favorite part of his “plan” is the Mets will have to replace 2/5 of the rotation in the next offseason. Of course, that assumes he doesn’t ravage the farm again for a starter with little control again

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        For 2021 the Mets will have deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz–with Stroman, Porcello, and Wacha departed as FAs.
        For 2022 the Mets will have deGrom and… [crickets]–with Syndergaard and Matz departed as FAs.

        It’s going to get rough. With Conforto also leaving after 2021, there’s not much choice until at least 2023 except through free agency.

        For 2022 it’s not pretty. 7 starting slots on the field and the rotation have to be filled through FA. As for the pen, only Diaz and Lugo are under team control, and they’re in their last arb years. If the team doesn’t learn to extend more of its good players…:

        c – FA
        1B – Alonso (1st arb year)
        2B – McNeil (1st arb year)
        SS – Rosario (2nd arb year)
        3B – FA
        LF – Davis, Smith (1st arb, 1st arb)
        CF – FA
        RF – Nimmo (final arb year)

        SP – deGrom (last season before player opt-out)
        SP – FA
        SP – FA
        SP – FA
        SP – FA

        RP – Diaz (final arb year)
        RP – Lugo (final arb year)
        RP, all – FA

        —-Total cost just in FA for 2022 is around 100m to keep the team where it currently is, PLUS an entire bullpen, PLUS the cost of the named players. (That might add up to185m before we get to the pen not named Diaz and Lugo.) That’s what happens when the upper levels of the farm are bare.

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