Brodie Van Wagenen Fires Back At Zack Wheeler

Mets’ GM Credits Team For Helping The Pitcher Get Paid After ‘Two Good Half Seasons’

Brandon Contes
February 14, 2020 - 1:49 pm
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Mets’ fans are understandably frustrated after watching a botched sale of the team from the Wilpons to Steve Cohen, along with the front office having to fire and hire two managers all in one offseason. But after former Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler expressed frustration with the organization, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen fired back.

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During a recent interview with the New York Post, Wheeler shared dissatisfaction with the Mets for not showing enough interest in resigning him this winter. Wheeler instead signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million.

“Our health and performance department, our coaches, all contributed and helped him parlay two good half seasons over the last five years into $118M,” Van Wagenen said according to David Lennon of Newsday. “So I’m proud of what our group was able to help him accomplish. I’m happy he was rewarded for it”

Highlighting Wheeler only having “two good half seasons” in the last five years can certainly be construed as a jab back at the Mets former righthanded starting pitcher by Van Wagenen.

"Zack is a good pitcher. That’s why we wanted to re-sign him,” Van Wagenen continued according to Newsday’s Tim Healey. “The contract and the market that he enjoyed was beyond what our appetite level was. I said that before. He got paid more than we were willing to give him."

Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) walks off the field during the sixth inning against the Dodgers on Sept. 5, 2018, at Dodger Stadium.
USA TODAY Images

After receiving his $118 million offer from the Phillies, Wheeler told Greg Joyce of The New York Post that he circled back with the Mets, but never heard from them.

“Obviously everything starts at the top and it filters down,” Wheeler said. “Whether it be somebody’s fault or not, it starts at the top and goes down. Maybe the top gives them the OK but lower down they don’t want to do something. Or maybe up top, they don’t give you the opportunity to do something but everybody else wants to do it. That’s kind of how it was there at certain points. Everything was kind of jumpy because certain people would want something, others wouldn’t. I don’t think everyone was on the same page.”

After missing all of 2015 and 2016 due to injury, Wheeler slowly began showing the potential the Mets thought they acquired when they traded Carlos Beltran for him in 2011. During the last two seasons, Wheeler proved to be durable, making 60 starts with a 3.65 ERA, averaging a strikeout per inning. But it was his second half performance during both seasons that helped boost his value on the free-agent market.

In 2019, Wheeler chopped his ERA by nearly a run, from 4.71 to 3.96 after Aug. 1. During his last 11 starts of the season, Wheeler pitched to a 2.66 ERA, going seven innings or more in six of those contests. His 2018 second half was even more dominant, posting a 1.68 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 11 starts.

After Wheeler signed with the Phillies, Van Wagenen brought in two starting pitchers to help replace him, adding Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha for a combined $13 million. The Mets will welcome Wheeler the Phillies to CitiField for a three-game series beginning Mar. 30.

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