Zack Wheeler to command $100M contract, Phillies seen as front-runners for pitcher: reports

Zack Wheeler, a free-agent starting pitcher, is set to command at least a $100 million contract in the offseason and the Philadelphia Phillies are rumored to be the top contenders, according to multiple reports.

Wheeler is among the top free agents on the market this offseason and is seen as the third-best pitching option behind Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

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The Athletic reported that one team had already offered Wheeler a contract worth $100 million while MLB Network and ESPN both reported that the Phillies were seen as the favorite to land Wheeler at a five-year clip.

According to those reports, the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox are also interested, all of which are reportedly set to pay the $100 million price tag.

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Wheeler, who turns 30 next year, has been in the New York Mets’ organization since the team acquired him from the San Francisco Giants in a trade for Carlos Beltran in July 2011. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons and some of the 2017 season with arm issues. But he has been relatively healthy since the 2018 season.

In 2018, Wheeler started 29 games and pitched in 182 1/3 innings. He struck out 179 batters, recorded an 8.8 K/9 and had a 3.31 ERA. Last season, Wheeler started 31 games and pitched in 195 1/3 innings. He struck out a career-high 195 batters and posted a 9.0 K/9 and a 3.96 ERA.

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According to ESPN, there was no indication that the Mets were involved in the bidding for Wheeler. They made him a qualifying offer last month, which he rejected. New York will be owed a draft pick should Wheeler signs with another club this winter.