Mets lose Zack Wheeler to Phillies

Michael Cohen

Zack Wheeler isn't leaving the NL East after all, but it won't be with the Mets. Wheeler stunned baseball fans everywhere by inking a four-year $118 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday.

The 29-year old Wheeler becomes the first prominent pitcher to sign this off-season, even turning down more money from the Chicago White Sox to stay in the National League East.

Now the Mets have to see Wheeler at least five times next season when he starts against them in a Phillies uniform.

For most Mets fans, who are understandably cynical , look at this deal as a nightmare scenario playing before their very eyes. Fans already got used to seeing second baseman Daniel Murphy torch the Mets for several seasons as a member of the Washington Nationals, after guiding the Mets to an unprecedented World Series run in 2015.

Wheeler wasn't always been the model of consistency when he was in Mets uniform. Earlier in his career he had a lot of trouble with his control, walking guys and working deep counts on a regular basis.

However, the last two seasons Wheeler saw plenty of improvment. He pitched to a career best 3.31 ERA in 2018, and returned this season to strikeout a career high 195 batters, while posting a decent 3.96 ERA.

In a lot of ways, Wheeler's 2019 season was a microcosm of his entire career. He started the season with an ERA that hovered around five, but slowly improved as the season wore on. By August he strung together two shutouts against the White Sox and Marlins, before reverting back to his typical inconsistent self.

While Mets fans are going to bemoan this move as another Wilpon failure, keep in mind the Philles still don't have the front end starting pitching the Mets do. If that is any kind of solace, you can take that to the bank.