Zack Wheeler called Mets GM Sandy Alderson to express his desire to stay with the team

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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.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.