Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies agree to five-year, $118M deal

Dec. 4 (UPI) — Right-hander Zack Wheeler, one of the prized free-agent starting pitchers this off-season, will join the Philadelphia Phillies after agreeing to a long-term contract.

League sources told ESPN and MLB Media on Wednesday that Wheeler agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies. According to ESPN, the 29-year-old pitcher rejected a larger contract offer from the Chicago White Sox worth more than $120 million before reaching an agreement with Philadelphia.

Wheeler was regarded as the top free-agent starter outside of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, both who will command massive contracts in free agency. The Phillies, under new manager Joe Girardi, needed help in their rotation, especially with Jake Arrieta entering the final season of his contract with the team.

Wheeler, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, has made 60 starts over the last two seasons. He has posted a 23-15 record and 3.65 ERA with 374 strikeouts in 377 2/3 innings.

Wheeler went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA and a career-best 195 strikeouts over 195 1/3 innings with the Mets in 2019. In the previous season, the former first-round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft set career highs in wins (12) and ERA (3.31) across 29 starts.

Since entering the majors with New York in 2013, Wheeler is 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA and 726 strikeouts.

The Mets will host the National League East rival Phillies in the clubs’ first series of next season starting March 30 at Citi Field.