Zack Wheeler signed a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies this offseason.
He had been a Met for the entirety of his big league career, but made the move to Philadelphia after New York only extended him a one-year qualifying offer as he headed into free agency. Wheeler spoke about his departure from the Mets this week, which resulted in a response from their GM, Brodie Van Wagenen.
Before signing in Philadelphia, though, Wheeler circled back with the Mets.
“It was basically just crickets when I did,” Wheeler told The Post Thursday.
But Wheeler wasn’t surprised.
“Because it’s them,” he said. “It’s how they roll.”
Wheeler wanted to make it clear he was not sour about how it all played out. He enjoyed his time as a Met, he said, and was thankful for the opportunities the organization gave him. But the only thing they offered him after last season was a $17.8 million qualifying offer.
Wheeler went on to say that he felt like the Mets front office was not “on the same page.”
All of that was regarded as irksome by Van Wagenen, who responded with this:
Brodie Van Wagenen said he was “surprised” and “disappointed” with Zack Wheeler’s comments yesterday, after the Mets “helped him parlay two good half-seasons over the last five into $118 million.”
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 14, 2020
Pretty shady stuff right there!
And look, Van Wagenen might not be wrong in suggesting that Wheeler isn’t worth $118 million. That was a question Phillies fans also asked when the signing was made, but free agent arms are always going to get the benefit of the overpay, so it is what it is. The crux of Wheeler’s complaint is that he heard those “crickets” from his longtime team before signing with the Phils instead, and Van Wagenen’s comments carry a somewhat unprofessional vibe, since he’s a front office member and not some random player, media member, or Twitter troll.