New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen clapped back at Zack Wheeler after the starting pitcher expressed his unhappiness with the team's lack of interest in re-signing him as a free agent before he joined the Philadelphia Phillies.
Per Tim Healey of Newsday, Van Wagenen took a shot at Wheeler's long injury history while praising the Mets organization for helping him get a five-year contract:
"Our health and performance department, our coaches all contributed and helped him parlay two good half-seasons over the last five years into a $118 million. 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."
Wheeler told Greg Joyce of the New York Post he heard "crickets" from the Mets before signing with Philadelphia in December.
"Because it's them," he added. "It's how they roll."
The Phillies gave Wheeler a deal worth $118 million over five years to upgrade their starting rotation.
Van Wagenen did note the Mets communicated their interest in bringing Wheeler back, but the "contract and the market that he enjoyed was beyond what our appetite level was."
The Mets acquired Wheeler in July 2011 when he was still in the minors as part of a trade with the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran. The right-hander had a slow start to his career because of a series of injuries, including missing all of 2015 and 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Wheeler set career highs last season with 195.1 innings and 195 strikeouts. The 29-year-old made 31 starts, his most in a single season since 2014.
After Wheeler decided to sign with New York's division rival, Van Wagenen brought in Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to supplement the rotation.
The Mets and Phillies play their first three-game series of the 2020 season at Citi Field from March 30-April 1.