White Sox rumors: Team offered more to Zack Wheeler than Phillies

Tanya Simon
December 5, 2019

But their Jon Lester is Zack Wheeler, according to several reports.

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is spending the week meeting with the top pitchers available in free agency: Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

After passing up on Joe Girardi for their managerial vacancy, the Mets saw their former righty sign with the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday afternoon, as first reported by Marc Carig.

And apparently, that was good enough for the Phillies as round about 2:15 p.m. it was reported they chose to hand out a five-year deal to the right-hander for a bit under $120 million.

Wheeler, 29, has received at least one $100 million offer and will land a five-year deal in excess of that amount, according to major-league sources.

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But Wheeler's relatively low mileage (only 749 ⅓ career innings), climbing velocity (97.0 miles per hour in 2019, up from 95.4 in 2017) and elite spin rates made him a coveted free agent target for teams unprepared to enter the stratospheres of Cole and Strasburg, both of whom are looking for much bigger deals.

In his final 15 starts two seasons ago, he went 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA.

Possessing an arm that should be fresh for a starter entering his age 30 season - he's pitched 791.2 innings since 2013 - was another reason why his price tag was so high.

He had a similar big finish in 2019, too, which only helped his value on the free-agent market. He has been value almost 9 wins over the previous two seasons, per Fangraphs, pitching in 195 1/Three innings and a 3.96 ERA in 2019. They didn't display much gumption in an attempt to re-sign him after that. That is a lot of money and he is going to be a big part of what they are trying to do in the AL East.

The Phillies badly needed starting pitching after a disappointing 2019 season, so Wheeler should give them a nice boost in that department.

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