Yesterday was an odd day to be a Met fan, to say the least.
The big news out of Queens came last night, when the it was reported that the Wilpons were going to sell their majority stake in the team. This amazing news practically shielded the rather unfortunate news that was reported earlier in the day on Wednesday; Zack Wheeler has agreed to sign a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
But the biggest thing that should be noted is the contract. The five-year term of the deal makes complete sense, but the price tag on it is steep, like $118 million steep. THe deal pays Wheeler $23.6 million annually.
Almost $24 million for a third, or potentially fourth starter in the Mets Current rotation? Hard pass.
Zack Wheeler has struggled with consistency throughout his time in Queens, including missing two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery and the struggles that come with the rehab of the major surgery. Over the five seasons he’s toed the rubber for the Mets, he pitched to a 44-38 record with a 3.77 ERA in 749.1 innings pitched. The right hander also had a 8.7 K/9 during his career.
Those stats are solid, but here is a list of names that received a contract similar to Wheeler: Yu Darvish ($110 million), Clayton Kershaw ($93 million), and now former teammate Jacob deGrom ($137.5 million), what do all of thes pitchers have in common? They are all much more consistent and talented pitchers than Wheeler, who also have accomplished much more individually than Wheeler in their careers thus far.
Wheeler was the first guy Omar Minaya acquired in hopes to rebuild the team when he sent newly named Mets manager Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for him. Unfortunately, he was never able to pitch in a playoff game during the Mets runs in 2015 and 2016 due to injuries. Although it is unfortunate for Wheeler to never get a chance to pitch in those playoff series’, without his injury struggles between those two seasons, the legend of Big Sexy Bartolo Colon may not have been born.
When the dust settled yesterday, Mets fans were being pulled in two completely emotional directions, one of which was overwhelming joy with the sale announcement, the other being upset in regards to Zack Wheeler departing. Does it sting he went to Philly? Absolutely. But for that money, anyone with a brain would let him walk.