Zack Wheeler
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Right-hander Zack Wheeler has rejected the New York Mets’ qualifying offer, could still sign a long-term extension with the team.

The first step in the free-agency process for right-hander Zack Wheeler is complete, but the veteran hasn’t budged. The New York Mets extended a qualifying offer that the veteran has since rejected. It would’ve been a one-year deal worth $17.8 million.

However, that may not be it for Wheeler in a Mets uniform. He’ll now test free agency but could still sign a long-term extension with the ballclub. It’s an act that Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has pondered over.

“We’ll certainly look to have those discussions as we go forward,” Van Wagenen said, per Danny Abriano of SNY.

Additional teams that have expressed interest in Wheeler are the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, and Minnesota Twins. The Bombers and general manager Brian Cashman recently checked in on the free-agent pitcher.

There was a big conversation prior to the July 31 trade deadline that Wheeler could’ve been dealt as a rental to a contending ballclub. Mets righty Noah Syndergaard found himself in those same discussions as well.

However, nothing came to fruition for either, as Wheeler and Thor stuck with the Mets for the rest of the 2019 campaign.

In his fifth season in the majors, Wheeler finished the year 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.259 WHIP. He struck out 195 batters and walked 50 through 31 starts (195.1 innings pitched).

If the Mets don’t re-sign him, the organization would receive a compensatory pick in next June’s draft.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.