Report: Mets, Yankees Not Among Leaders For Zack Wheeler

Free-Agent Starting Pitcher Receiving Interest From Multiple Teams

Brandon Contes
November 20, 2019 - 1:55 pm
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The Mets and Yankees may not have closed the door on signing free-agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, but neither franchise is leading the pack of interested teams. 

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According to a report by MLB.com's Jon Morosi, the Angels, Padres, White Sox and Twins seem to be the biggest suitors for Wheeler.

The Mets made a surprising deal at the 2019 trade deadline, acquiring Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays, which made a return for Wheeler on a multiyear contract appear unlikely. Last week, Zack Wheeler rejected the $17.8 million one-year qualifying offer from the Mets as he seeks a larger free-agent deal. Wheeler began the month of August with an ERA of 4.71. A disappointing year to that point meant accepting the qualifying offer from the Mets might be a consideration.

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches during the first inning against the Phillies on Sept. 17, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
USA TODAY Images

Wheeler could have taken the one-year deal worth nearly $18 million and attempted to build his free-agency value for next year. But a strong late season push beginning Aug. 1 saw Wheeler chop his ERA by nearly a run, from 4.71 to 3.96. During his last 11 starts of the season, Wheeler pitched to a 2.66 ERA, going seven innings or more in six of those starts. While the cost of Wheeler might ultimately be deemed too much by the Mets, the Yankees are reportedly more focused on free-agent Gerrit Cole at this time.

After missing 2015 and 2016 due to injury, Wheeler began showing the potential the Mets thought they acquired when they traded their now manager Carlos Beltran for him in 2011. During the last two seasons, the 29-year old Wheeler proved to be durable, making 60 starts with a 3.65 ERA, averaging a strikeout per inning.

Wheeler is not at the top of the free-agent pitching class led by Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole, but he’s considered to be in the tier just below them. A five-year deal worth close to $20 million annually is not out of the question for Wheeler.

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