Wheeler, Phillies agree to $118M, 5-year deal

Ross Houston
December 6, 2019

Wheeler, whose fastball averaged almost 97 miles per hour in 2019, was considered one of the top second-tier starters on the free-agent market behind top-end arms Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

The list of clubs pursuing the lefthander already included the Reds, White Sox and Braves and MLB.com reported Thursday that the Cardinals could emerge as a new potential bidder.

His five-year, $118 million deal to join the Phillies illustrated what appears to be a market that is at least leaning back toward equilibrium, driven in part by a surge of teams that are feeling pressure to compete.

Wheeler was considered the prize of the free-agency class for teams in search of a starting pitching that didn't want to compete in stratospheric bidding for Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

For the Phillies, and new Manager Joe Girardi, Wheeler will occupy a prominent place in a rotation that is also expected to include Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin and perhaps Vince Velazquez - or yet another pitcher plucked from this free agent market.

Wheeler, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, has made 60 starts over the last two seasons.

Wheeler finished 2019 averaging 8.98 strikeouts per nine innings and struck out 23.6 percent of the batters he faced, compared to just 2.30 walks per nine innings. NEVER. Wheeler set a career-high in 2019 by throwing 195.1 innings.

Wheeler spent his entire career up till now with the Mets, making his debut in the 2013 season.

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

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