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Zack Wheeler: 'At the end of the day, I wanted to stay a New York Met'

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"I was gone at one point," Zack Wheeler said. "To have that fall through was sort of a good thing for me, I guess you could say. I'm still happy to be a part of this team." Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

MIAMI -- At 4 p.m. ET on Friday, with the trade deadline having arrived, Zack Wheeler still did not know for sure whether he remained a member of the New York Mets.

Wheeler, who had called general manager Sandy Alderson a few hours earlier to express his desire to stay, learned via news reports that the Mets had acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. But Wheeler had not yet heard which players the Mets were sending to the AL Central club.

Ultimately, Wheeler -- who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery -- learned that minor league right-handers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa were headed to the Tigers, and he could exhale.

Only two days earlier, Wilmer Flores had been crying at Citi Field, thinking he was getting traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez. The same angst was playing out in private with Wheeler, who also would have been included in that deal. Wheeler similarly did not want to leave New York.

"Once they said we traded for Cespedes, I didn't know if I was in the trade or anything like that," Wheeler said Monday, after traveling down from Port St. Lucie to be with his Mets teammates during the series at Marlins Park. "I was just sitting there, trying to find out if I was the guy getting traded. But they said Fulmer and Cesssa, so that was sort of a relief."

Wheeler said he was so convinced he was a goner on Wednesday, he began reading up on his new teammates with the Brewers. The deal was called off by the Mets over medical concerns about Gomez's hip.

"I was gone at one point," Wheeler said. "To have that fall through was sort of a good thing for me, I guess you could say. I'm still happy to be a part of this team."

Wheeler's agent had called Alderson a few days before the trade deadline and conveyed Wheeler's desire to remain a Met. Wheeler also ended up phoning the GM, four hours before the trade deadline, to express that sentiment himself.

"The last day, after I got done at the field [rehabbing in Port St. Lucie], probably about 12, [my agent] was like, 'You know, it might be a good idea just for you to call him and let him hear your voice and let him know how you feel, coming from you,'" Wheeler said. "I decided to go ahead and do that. I don't know if it necessarily worked out. At least he knows how I feel now.

"I'm happy to be part of this organization still. We're moving in the right way, obviously. It's been a lot of fun to watch this year. I wish I could be up here and pitch with these guys and play with them. An unfortunate thing happened. It's fun watching at least."

Wheeler has not received the same public adulation as Flores since the trade with the Brewers fizzled. Flores received a standing ovation every time he was involved with a play over the weekend at Citi Field. Still, Wheeler said Twitter -- often the wild west -- has been kind to him.

Wheeler threw Monday, Wednesday and Friday last week -- his first instances tossing a baseball since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. This week, he will start throwing consecutive days: Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday. He is expected to return to the majors in June or July of next season.

Although being traded once before made the trade chatter this time somewhat more easy to accept, Wheeler said he has a particular attachment to the Mets because he reached the majors with the organization. He also was linked to trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds for Jay Bruce.

"I guess it's a good thing that people still want me when I've thrown maybe three times after Tommy John surgery," Wheeler said. "That's always cool to put in the back of your head -- people still want you. But at the end of the day, I wanted to stay a New York Met and play with these guys.

"I understand it's a business. Sandy has got a job to do to make this team as good as he can. But I've been with this organization through some of the growing pains. I like what Sandy has done here. I want to be a part of it because we're about to be good this year and next year and the years after that.

"It's definitely going to be fun to play here."