Wheeler tells GM he wants to stay with Mets
NEW YORK -- The flow of non-waiver Trade Deadline talks -- more than half a dozen Mets executives crammed into a room -- was briefly interrupted Friday afternoon by the familiar ring of a phone. But this was no ordinary call from a general manager or reporter. This was from pitcher Zack Wheeler, whose name had popped into multiple talks over the past week -- including the Mets' ill-fated deal for then-Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez.
Wheeler told Mets general manager Sandy Alderson that he knew there was a chance he would be traded over the ensuing hours. But all things being equal, Wheeler impressed upon his boss, he'd like to stick around.
"He really expressed his desire to remain a Met, his excitement to be a part of the organization and be a part of what is happening here," Alderson said. "He acknowledged it was a business, but at the same time wanted to express his feelings to me. I can't say that it was dispositive of what took place because I acknowledged back to him that yes, it's a business. But again, you go back to [the Gomez trade] and even this conversation, and we're talking about human beings. We all develop an attachment to each other in whatever capacity we serve. It's hard. I appreciated the fact that Zack reached out."
In sum, Alderson said, Wheeler's phone call had "quite an impact" on the Mets' decision not to trade him. As recently as Friday morning, according to a source, the Mets were discussing deals to acquire Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, with at least one version of those talks involving Wheeler. The pitcher even acknowledged in a Thursday telephone interview that there was a strong chance the Gomez deal would not be his last inclusion in a trade.
In that same interview, Wheeler said many of the things he related a day later to Alderson.
"I'm happy that I'm still a Met," said Wheeler, who plans to break from his Tommy John surgery rehab routine in Port St. Lucie, Fla., next week to visit teammates in Miami. "I've been here a few years now and I've been through the rebuilding stage. I want to be here until that's finished. I want to be a part of this pitching staff that we have here. I'm down here working my butt off to get better and come back better and be healthy. I just want to be a part of what's going to happen here pretty soon."