New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen says he was "surprised" and "disappointed" when Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler ripped the Mets for not pursuing him in free agency after the pitcher spent five seasons (over seven years) in Queens.
"Our health and performance department, our coaches all contributed and helped him parlay two good half-seasons over the last five years into $118 million," Van Wagenen said Friday, according to Tim Healey of Newsday. "I'm proud of what our group was able to help him accomplish. I'm happy he was rewarded for it. Players deserve to be rewarded when they perform well. More than anything else, I'm thrilled with the pitching staff we have."
During his Mets tenure, Wheeler went 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 726 strikeouts in 749 1/3 innings. He's been worth 8.9 wins above replacement over his last two seasons.
Wheeler signed a five-year, $118-million contract with the Phillies this offseason. He said the Mets didn't try to keep him away from their division rivals when he approached them prior to inking the deal.
"It was basically just crickets when I did," Wheeler said Thursday, according to Greg Joyce of The New York Post. "Because it's them. It's how they roll."
Van Wagenen rejected the suggestion that there was a communication breakdown, Healey adds.
"We were interested in bringing him back, and we communicated that," Van Wagenen said. "Not at that level of contract."
Joining the Mets in his place alongside Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz are free-agent acquisitions Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha. Porcello and Wacha are earning a combined $13 million in 2020, according to Cot's Contracts.