Rumors

Just kidding: Phillies now seen as ‘most potent’ bidders for Zack Wheeler


Zack Wheeler is a coveted free agent. (David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)

It turns out the Philadelphia Phillies are interested in free-agent righty Zack Wheeler.

Very interested.

Wednesday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies are viewed as the “most potent” bidders for the 29-year-old right-hander.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that while the Los Angeles Angels have shown interest in Wheeler, the Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox are the three teams definitively “still alive” for him.

Wheeler’s free agency doesn’t seem on track to drag into 2020. In fact, Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM and Bob Nightengale of USA Today are among those to report that Wheeler could sign before the MLB Winter Meetings, which begin on Sunday.

MLB Trade Rumors projected Wheeler would sign a five-year/$100 million deal at the outset of free agency. Nightengale and Rosenthal have suggested that the final value of the deal may ultimately top $100 million.

Since the New York Mets issued a qualifying offer to Wheeler, the Phillies would have to relinquish their second highest draft pick in the 2020 MLB Draft and 500,000 of international signing bonus pool money. That, of course, would be in addition to the total value of the contract.

In five seasons with the Mets, Wheeler went 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA and 3.71 FIP. Notably, he went 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA after the 2018 All-Star Break, which has led more than a few baseball observers to think that in the right situation, his consistent front-line potential could be unlocked.

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