We’ve understandably heard a lot about Wilmer Flores since the failed Carlos Gomez trade on Wednesday, but right-hander Zack Wheeler was the other player who was supposed to be sent to the Brewers. His name was surfacing in rumors again yesterday, most notably as part of a proposed deal for Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, but Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Wheeler reached out to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to express his desire to stay with the team.
While the Mets managed to keep Wheeler while also picking up Tigers slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Alderson said that the phone call didn’t sway the team’s trade talks. However, he appreciated Wheeler reaching out to him.
“(It) actually had quite an impact,” Alderson said. “Really expressed his desire to remain a Mets, his excitement for being part of the organization and being part of what is happening here. Acknowledged it was a business but at the same time wanted to express his feelings to me. I can’t say it was dispositive of what took place because I acknowledged back to him yes it’s a business.
“Again, if you go back to Wednesday and even this conversation, we’re talking about human beings. We all develop an attachment to each other and whatever capacity we serve so it’s hard. Anyway, I appreciated the fact Zack reached out.”
Of course, Alderson acquired Wheeler for Carlos Beltran in a deadline deal with the Giants back in 2011.
Wheeler, 25, underwent Tommy John surgery and flexor pronator surgery in March. He resumed throwing this week, but isn’t expected to pitch in the majors again until around midseason next year.
We have a trend here. Last week we heard about Mets left-hander Jon Niese, but now it’s Ian Kennedy’s turn. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Kennedy watched the birth of his daughter on FaceTime yesterday before allowing two runs over seven innings against the Marlins.
Kennedy’s wife, Allison, went into labor with their fourth child yesterday morning. He attempted to make it back to Southern California, but his flight from Miami was delayed due to inclement weather and his wife eventually just told him to stay and pitch. His daughter, Evelyn Nicole, was born just about two hours before the start of the game.
Kennedy allowed a two-run homer to Christian Yelich in the first inning, but held the Marlins off the board the rest of the way. The special day functioned as motivation for him.
“Giving up the homer helped shake it up a little bit,” he said. “[I thought], ‘Hey, I’m out here on a big league mound, you’ve got to step it up. What are you going to tell your daughter after you’re all done?’ It was just fun to pitch. Now I get to go home. I just want to hold her.”
Kennedy, who was among the many prominent names who remained with the Padres through Friday’s trade deadline, was scheduled to leave the team this morning to be with his family. He’s expected to return for his next start on Wednesday against the Brewers.
In a surprising move, the Blue Jays announced this morning that they have designated infielder-outfielder Danny Valencia for assignment. Ezequiel Carrera was also designated for assignment while infielder Munenori Kawasaki was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo and right-hander Ryan Tepera was sent down.
Valencia has been very productive in a part-time role this season, batting .296/.331/.506 with seven home runs and 29 RBI over 58 games while mostly playing against left-handed pitching. However, he became the odd-man out after the Blue Jays picked up outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies before yesterday’s trade deadline.
Valencia has experience in the infield and outfielder and owns an .864 OPS against southpaws in his career, so he should draw plenty of interest around the league.