It looks like Joe Girardi was a fan of Zack Wheeler before he knew the former Mets right-hander would be pitching for him with the Phillies.
“I think everyone recognizes the talents that Zack Wheeler has, all 30 clubs.” the new Phillies skipper told SNY recently before he knew he would be managing the right-hander. “He’s a power pitcher with outstanding breaking stuff.
“He’s a guy that’s going to give you 32 starts and give you over 200 innings and be really successful. So whoever gets Zack Wheeler is going to be really fortunate.”
Wheeler compiled a 44-38 record with a 3.77 ERA in his five seasons with the Mets, but he has never never thrown more than 200 innings in any single season.
The only time Wheeler made 32 starts in a season was 2014. Nevertheless, he did make 31 starts and throw 195 innings last season in which he recorded an 11-8 record with a 3.96 ERA.
Wheeler — who agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Phillies worth $118 million, — will now join a a rotation with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta under the leadership of Girardi.
The Mets never made an offer to Wheeler, a source had told The Post’s Mike Puma. But Wheeler’s camp circled back to the Mets, giving team officials one last chance before accepting the Phillies’ offer. The White Sox, Twins and Rangers were among the other teams interested in the right-hander.
Girardi, who won a World Series as a manager with the Yankees in 2009, was a candidate for the Mets’ managerial job but wound up signing a three-year contract with the Phillies, with a club option for 2023.