The White Sox made the biggest splash of the young free agency season on Thursday, signing the best catcher available, Yasmani Grandal, to a long-term contract. The four-year, $73MM guarantee the White Sox handed Grandal stands as the largest deal in franchise history, but it might not be long before the team doles out an even richer pact. The White Sox remain among those after free-agent right-hander Zack Wheeler, per reports from Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Jon Morosi of MLB.com (video link) and Andy Martino of SNY. They first showed interest in Wheeler well before signing Grandal.
If MLBTR’s five-year, $100MM prediction proves accurate, Wheeler could become the first nine-figure player in White Sox history. The longtime Met and former Tommy John surgery patient made a case for that type of payday during the previous two seasons with 8.9 fWAR over 377 2/3 innings, thereby putting three straight injury-ruined years behind him. Along the way, Wheeler recorded a terrific 3.65 ERA/3.37 FIP with 8.91 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 and averaged a blazing 96.8 mph on his four-seam fastball.
Now, should Wheeler end up on the South Side of Chicago, he’d give the club at least two frontline-caliber starters from the get-go. Although 2019 was yet another dismal season in the standings for the White Sox, they did see Lucas Giolito emerge as a star atop their rotation. And Giolito’s hardly the lone promising starter on hand, as Chicago also boasts Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease. Meanwhile, Michael Kopech could factor into the club’s rotation from the outset of next season after missing 2018 because of a Tommy John procedure, and fellow TJ patient Carlos Rodon figures to return at some point in 2020.
Considering the 29-year-old Wheeler is the third-best starter on the open market, trailing only Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, there’s predictably substantial interest in him so far. The Angels, Padres and Twins are also among those who have been connected to him thus far. Anybody that signs Wheeler will have to surrender draft compensation, as he rejected a $17.8MM qualifying offer from the Mets a week ago. The White Sox and Angels would each give up their second-highest pick in 2020 and $500K of their international signing bonus pool, while the Padres and Twins would lose their third-highest selection.
“Considering the 29-year-old Wheeler is the third-best starter on the open market, trailing only Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg…”
From what I’ve read here on MLBTR comment boards, a lot of people would argue that third behind Cole and Stras should go to MadBum or Ryu.
Bochys Retirement Fund
Depends on the outlook. Ryu being the third best in terms of 2019 performance. MadBum as as the third best in terms of overall career. But Wheeler seems to still be going upward with his career, which is why I think they’re saying he’s 3rd best.
$20 x 5 seems like a lot considering Wheeler’s injury history rivals Eovaldi (prior to last year). I’ll be surprised if he gets more than 4 @ $16 – 18m. I’d certainly rather have Wheeler in 2020 but the Sox made a mistake last year giving in to emotions. As scarce as starting pitching is, teams still have to think twice on long term contracts to starters.
So your saying Wheeler is better than Bumgarner?
as he stands now. yes!
Based on possible future performance, yes, wheeler is ahead of bumgarner.
“possible” FUTURE performance? We’re ranking players on performance that MAY happen in the future?
You’re right. I’d take Vlad Sr. over Vlad Jr. any day!
Mo4ever, you may be shocked to realize that teams usually sign free agents based on “possible FUTURE performance”. So it is not too strange for commenters to rank free agents based on these criteria. I apologize if your mind has been blown
Fair enough. I thought the question on the table was who is the third best pitcher NOW.
The question on the table is who will be the 3rd best pitcher next season. Last season is over so next season is as close as we can get to “NOW.” MadBum had an ERA of 3.9 and gave up 30 homers even though he spent half his time pitching in one of the best pitchers parks in all of baseball. Once you account for the size of the park and the dense SF Bay humitidity making the air so heavy it might be the best pitchers park in all of baseball. You should expect his numbers to get worse as he leaves for a more hitter friendly destination. Ryu is older than all of them by multiple years and is far more injury prone as well. He just had the best year of his career and still had to come back from an injury. After his most recent injury his ERA was well over 5. It is not completely illogical to assume that is what Ryu is now since his injury. It is however completely illogical to assume that Ryu will ever be able to pitch a full season without serious injury problems. I would take Wheeler over both of them. MadBum is a quickly ticking time bomb and Ryu might be a time bomb that already exploded.
You have to pay for what you expect to get, not what the player previously did
Dense humid air in the bay area? You clearly don’t spend much time here. We get little to no rain, and the only humidity is from the fog, which is not a daily occurrence. California is a desert. It is not humid here.
Uh, humidity doesn’t necessarily mean rain or heat. Sf is plenty humid.
Of course you are paying for expected possible future performance
That is literally the point of free agent contracts. And I’m not using literally incorrectly here; that is explicitly what free agent contracts are supposed to be based off.
When you are signing them, the future performance is more important than past. I still think Bumgarner is better. But by the end of 2021 that’s probably not true.
The problem with Wheeler is your basing things on the last 1.333 years. He’s had multiple injuries and has to come with a warning. MBaum has lost a little but is he declining or is he another JV who just went through a lull between his off the field injury and playing so many non-important games the second half of the season? I can envision him being his old self playing important September and October games.
If you’ve been to the future & have a better grasp, let us know.
Humidity or lack thereof aside, while LA may indeed be built in the desert, SF is not, experiencing a warmish-coolish Mediterranean climate with many micro-climatic features influenced by ocean currents, topography, & Anchor porter.
Yeah. I don’t think Dodgethis realizes that the SF park is literally right on the water. Remember all those home runs Barry Bonds used to hit that were caught by people in kayaks? Those Kayaks float on something called water. When it gets hot from the sun shining down on all that water it causes large quantities of water to evaporate… okay? When the water evaporates it spreads all around the SF park placing evaporated water molecules throughout the air… mmmkay? Water molecules are denser than typical air molecules so they make the air heavier. The denser and heavier the air is the harder it is for objects like baseballs to travel through it. The result of the water being evoparated and dispersed through the air is something all of those super duper smart people who actually passed the 7th grade call humidity. So, that’s how it works Dodge. Did you enjoy your science lesson? Now you can pretend your one of those super duper smart people next time one of them brings up the word humidity.
So it’s not the tears of winged & flappy leviathans of the air after all. Hunh. I’ll have to remember that..
Madbum has the bigger name but he’s not who he was when the Giants were winning titles. He’s on his way down and Wheeler still is ascending. He’s definitely the third best starter.
He’s actually exactly who he was when winning titles. He’s never been a dominant regular season guy. The postseason is what made madbum madbum. From his very first year. He wasn’t even the #1 guy in san Francisco during those titles. He wasn’t the “ace” until lincecum, Cain, and zito moved on. No team is signing him to pitch a 3 era during the regular season, you sign him to put your contender over the top with the greatest pressure pitcher of the last several decades.
Bumgarner. Lol. Modern front offices aren’t going to swoon by postseason performances that are 6-8 years old.
If that dog could hunt, David Freese would still be playing
At the age of 30 one needs to wonder has the decline begun?
Freese got a lot of years out of that.
Look at Wheeler’s numbers. He is worse than Jordan Zimmermann was and look how that played out.
Terrible logic Black Ace57
Vandals Took The Handles
Mr. Wheelers’ situation points out how fans view free agency……
At best Mr. Wheeler was the Mets #3 starter this year. He had some very good games, some average, and some bad. Kept his team in some games, not in others.
Comments on here during the season from most people (including Met fans) amounted to – “what’s so good about him?”.
But now he’s a FREE AGENT! So the same fans are now on here following every breathless rumor of which way future HOF’er Wheeler is leaning as they so want the living legend to come to their team – at which time he will turn around their pitching staff, making in one of the best in MLB.
OK, he’s better then Chris Archer…..at least for now.
I actually agree with you. I think he has a more productive future then either MadBum or Ryu but he isn’t a superstar. I do think that the Mets terrible defense definitely contributed to his numbers being worse than they would be on most teams but $100 million?! Come on. He is not going to be penciled in as the ace if any team he signs with next year unless that team is already admitting that their starting rotation is so bad that they won’t contend regardless of his presence. There are younger sub- $1 million pitchers that are already better than Wheeler could ever hope to be in his lifetime. At that price he would only be a good investment for a team that has multiple proven aces that are clearly going to start ahead of him in the rotation and biting the bullet to spend $100 million on a number three pitcher could push them into a world championship. Even then, if they don’t win a championship in the first 2 or 3 years they will regret the signing.
If he were an ace he would be getting much more than 100 million. The fact that there are better pitchers making under a million means absolutely nothing. Of course there are. Some of the best pitchers in the made that much money. Trout win a couple mvps making that much
great.reply and I agree with your assessment!
@ Vandals Took The Handles
Considering the Mets’ #1 starter was also the NL Cy Young winner, it’s hard to count deGrom’s NY existence as a mark against Wheeler. Additionally, to suppose that Syndergaard was better than Wheeler is problematic – ZW’s record & WHIP are comparable, & his ERA is considerably better.
Real Mets fans have been Wheelz fans for a while now.
People forget how good Zimmermann was in Washington. People forget how good Zimmermann was the first couple months in Detroit until he got hurt. Wheeler only wishes he were Jordan Zimmermann of 5 years ago. Wheeler is commanding big money based on age and potential. He is a perennial underachiever. He might live up to the contract he is rumored to receive. We’re still waiting for him to show it.
Bumgarner is 5th.
Many would indeed argue that.
None would be correct.
Go get him Rick !!!
I always feel like pitchers who come from the NL to the AL always struggle and are not worth the money. Maybe just bad experiences as a pale hose fan, but if we are going to spend 9 figures on a guy I would prefer Cole.
Cole came from the NL Pirates to the AL Astros
And got much better results
“And got much better results”
Yeah, so did JV. It was that Astros mystique. Or magic beans. Or something.
as I said, maybe just bad experiences as a white Sox fan.
don’t worry. both are coming to the angels!
Astros analytic magic!
it’s not like yankees weren’t caught doing the same thing.
JV didn’t come from the NL. He came from the Tigers. smh
They weren’t caught doing the same thing at all. Don’t be stupid.
Cheating tends to lead to better results.
Don’t be dumb, the Yankees didn’t steal signs , they had a phone in the dugout, that’s it.
The comment was that Cole, an NL pitcher, went to Houston and got better. I responded that JV, an AL pitcher, also went to Houston and got better. Meaning: what league they came from didn’t seem to matter… Pitchers go to Houston to get better, apparently.
I thought u meant that he also went from the NL to the AL. My bad
That’s what he meant but when he found out he was wrong he switched it up
The Astros themselves went to the AL & got better.
Better trash cans there.
That’s an incorrect assumption. Examples of AL pitchers that went to the NL and struggled would be Jose Quintana who went from the White Sox to the Cubs and Archer who went from the Devil Rays to the Pirates. More recently Stroman pitched worse in the NL East then he did in the AL East. There are examples that go both ways but I think the idea that NL pitchers struggle in the AL is a myth.
In general it’s viewed as being easier to pitch in the NL because you get to pitch to the opposing pitcher and not the DH.
And that view is absolutely correct. I’ve never heard anyone seriously attempt to deny it.
Speaking of seriously deny, are you going to deny you upvote every one of your posts? …And this isnt over time, its an immediate upvote.
Or are you going to insult us all and claim you have a timely, dedicated stalker who loves your rhetoric?
Confidence problem much???
oh, and before you deny, I noticed this 3 days ago, and with only one fail, one can say you are nearly 100% consistent.
One could say you are the dedicated stalker
As a Mets fan I’ll be disappointed but not surprised if he leaves. But to Chicago? Blah.
When I say this it’s not a dig at you. I wish more fans paid attention to what the Sox are doing. They have all this young talent and zero payroll commitments. They could spend 100 mill this off season just on 2020 and have a lower payroll than the Mets. And I’m a die hard Mets fan but the Sox should be in on every free agent.
I think they’ll do Wheeler or MadBum plus some second tier short signings like resign Nova and maybe chase a Roark.
Yeah sure, White Sox will sign them all. Reinsdorf loves spending money lol. They don’t spend much on scouting and player development, so maybe they’d spend on FA. Don’t count on it. They’d have to overpay to get a decent player.
Yeah. They really blew it with Robert and Madrigal. What losers! And who is is Grandal they signed today?
You do realize that since 2000 the White Sox have had top 10 payrolls 6 times, including four times in the top 5. Reinsdorf also spent way over the tax in the 1990s for the Bulls when they were winning titles. He’ll spend when needed and when he can be convinced that the championship window is open.
The White Sox made bad signings and draft picks to injuries for a long period of time where it put the organization in a mess! Hahn has been doing what he said he was planning to do back in 2013. This Dogbone character is a moron!
Reinsdorf spent that NBA tax because he made that money back several times over with the most marketable athlete on Earth.
Wrong era. It was Bill Wennington.
Big paychecks and the loss of team’s 2nd draft pick, but Wheeler gets us over the hump into contention.
Maybe for a wild card….maybe… in a couple years
Call me crazy but I’m trying to figure out which team is going to give up a draft pick and guarantee $100 million over five years to a pitcher with zero 200 inning seasons and a career 3.91 xFIP.
He’s trending up…..
Vandals Took The Handles
Acutally as one that has watched him quite a bit…..
Wheeler’s last 2-2.5 months of 2018 were exceptional – nothing like what he’d ever done.
In 2019 he reverted back to an up and down, inconsistent pitcher. Some of his overall numbers might be argued, but he is what he is – a veteran #3 starter; on a good staff the #4. Has nice stuff at times, thus far no one has gotten it to play consistently. The type of guy at gets a multi-year high contract, has one exceptional year, one decent one, and then is a drag on the payroll, so his team tries to find someone to unload his contract on.
The Phillies according to my contest entry.
Nobody really knows what these players are thinking other than their families and their agents. It’s all speculation and anybody’s guess. But that’s what makes MLB hot stove so intersting to us baseball fans. I love it
BREAKING NEWS: White Sox just signed all the free agents. Owners are upset and claiming collusion on behalf of the MLBPA. More on this later…..
The relatively low White Sox payrolls of this decade kind of surprised me. It’s a big market. I don’t know anything about them. Is their TV contract low paying?
New contract as of next season. Old contract was $50-60M/year. New one is closer to $160-170M/year.
So, going from mid-tier to mid-high tier. The issue has more been that their owner has held them back from signing a lot of top free agents. They’ve finished 2nd or 3rd in the running a lot of times and ended up with mid and low tier signings.
Actually the White Sox new NBC contract pays them $750,000 per game broadcasted … so about 120 million per year.
They both went with prolonged rebuilds. That means no high-priced free agents.
The Cubs were also low spending until a few years ago. Never understood why two Chicago teams behaved as if Chicago is a small market. And the ChiSox continue to do so. Just ripping off the captive audience?
The Cubs aren’t acting like a small market club. They have one of the top 3 largest payrolls in baseball.
If you read my comment you would have noted that I said “until a few years ago.” Yes the Cubs are a big spender the past few years. Before that, though, not so much. Read the comments before you respond to them.
To some degree this is true but the Hendry era did include some heavy spending at times. Hendry fell into the trap mid to later in his tenure to overspend to try and chase playoff runs.
The cubs were not a big spender until the Hendry era and mid-way into his time became one. After and the beginnings of this current regime, they stalled spending for a bit (coinciding with the transition from Tribune ownership to Ricketts). Now they’re back to spending.
– diehard cubs fan.
Wake up Twins we need some pitching. Don’t sit on your hands and hope they return your calls. Be the aggressor and maybe you can show your fan base you know what’s going on.
They would have a young nice rotation: Wheeler,Giolito,Kopech,Lopez and Cease
Agreed. The White Sox are going to be competitive this year, especially in that division. Just put a dub on them to win the WS haha
Meh. He’s good, but not front line guy.
If they go for Wheeler, hope White Sox go after another pitcher as well.
As a life long Angel fan now living near the enemy I would like Cole, but seems 5 years of Wheeler and maybe 3 of Keuchel and 2 of Miley might be good to bridge that gap to a few of their younger pitchers.
Go get him Hahn! Let’s keep it going! Don’t stop now boys! Go sox!
Angels needs to back off these high end FA. They’re not a Cole or Wheeler away from contending. So, why would you throw away your high end draft picks?
@Mr.Ward14 – well they’d still their first round pick. But they really gotta hit on that.
@Mr.Ward14–You don’t want to base all your thinking on the draft picks. In the case of the Angels, the 2016 2nd Round pick was Brandon Marsh (from all indications, a mid-to-big MLB talent), in 2015 Jahmai Jones (struggling to be relevant, but the team did put him on the 40-man the other day to protect him), ad in 2014 it was Joe Gatto (drafted as SP, moved to bullpen in AA last season).
So that is one hit, two maybes for the 2nd round pick over three successive seasons. If the offset to a “maybe” is 4 years (or more) of Cole or Wheeler, then there is no hard choice to make.
Ryu without question is at least the third best pitcher available. His only negative has been his health. Healthy last year he started the All-star game and won the MLB ERA title. His career ERA is under 3.
But given his and health, what kind of a contract would you give him? And would you rather sign him or Wheeler?
“But given his AGE and health…”
Depends on expectations. Chicago has nice young pitching still developing. I see no problem doing 3 years for Ryu as a veteran bridge and mentor while the youngsters mature, knowing he is not an innings eater. But the innings you get are quality. And there is no draft pick attached. Doesn’t seem overly risky to me, compared to throwing 9 figures, a draft pick and 6-7 years at someone else.
That’s a huge negative. He’s 79th in Innings pitched the last two years.
his age, injury history and those great seasons were all contract seasons. have seen many more ‘crazy’ seasons on contract years!
And there are just as many misses on contract years.
The last two years Wheeler is 12th in IPs. Tenth in WAR. 1th in FIP. I’ll take my chances with this guy over MadBum an Ryu.
In my mind he’s clearly the 3rd best pitcher on the market.
I would to see the White Sox bring in Wheeler and Nova. Wheeler is looking for five to six years while bring in Nova for one more year. Nova was a work horse this season for the Sox. With the White Sox having Nova in the rotation it gives Kopech a few months to work out of the bullpen to earn a spot in the rotation if Nova or Lopez start messing up.
Vandals Took The Handles
Wheeler is looking for 5-6 years?
He surely will get 4, and maybe the 5 or 6.
That is insane. You can be assured that a smart, consistently good FO such as the Dodgers, Astros, Indians, Rays, A’s, and now the Red Sox along with a few others would never get suckered into something like that for a pitcher like Wheeler. Crazy.
my god, the crazy contracts those teams have all signed! astros exception though, unless league punishment prohibits them, they will soon lock themselves into those insane contracts!
of course, liquor store night cleaner won’t ever get those crazy contracts!
Vandals Took The Handles
List the long-term crippling contracts the Dodgers have signed under Friedman; the Astros under Luhnow; the Indians under Antonetti / Chernoff; the Rays under Friedman and Neander / Bloom……who’s now with the Red Soxl and the A’s since Beane has been there.
Especially the pitchers. Please list the ineffective pitchers with high salaries they had to carry on their roster for more then a year.
do your own work!
You did make a claim, I thought you’d want to back it up.
the long term crippling contracts the Astros signed were when they signed Brandon Taubman and AJ Hinch. Those two’s legacies will outweigh the team’s performance for a long, long time.
A young team like the Sox should be thinking about keeping there draft picks and signing players who don’t have draft picks attached a guy like keachel and some bullpen arms make more sense.
Good grief 100 million contract for Wheeler. Huh hard pass on that one.
Arghh his articles are painful. Worst writer on MLBTR.
No one forces you to read them.
Maybe, if you ask nicely, you can get your money back?
Maybe he thinks you are the worst commenter on MLBTR (you arent: CPAP, Crew Brew or Themed get that honor)
HaloShine might have something to say as being the worst commenter
giants number 1 fan
Whoever signs Wheeler will be making a Darren Dreifort like mistake.
Why would anybody sign with the Stink Sox
To piss off FloridaMan 1988. I hear he and Jerry don’t het along too well.
I think with all this talk of Wheeler being worth 5 years/$100M that a) he’s probably really only worth 2-3 years but an extra 2.5 years is what it takes at this level of interest from the league wide. And b) I think if he is gonna get 5 years it’s gonna get pushed up to $23M+ AAV with so many similar offers.
If I had my way I’d love to see the Yankees sign him 1 year/$25M see what happens…
I like Zach for 4/60. I think he could ascend. Bumgarner could decline and you would still have about the same pitcher.
U might like it but that’s not close to what reality
100 mil for Wheeler whoever does that needs head coach examined sounds right up Preller’s alley he loves unmovable bad contracts
How is a 3.65 ERA in the National League terrific?
Its terrific when you consider the idiot former Met’s manger Giveaway would always leave him in over 100 pitches to get shelled in his last inning of work.
A(nother) J(ackass) Preller: we are waiting. What is taking you so long? You are the smartest guy in the room. You have wowed your bosses with “I never sleep” and “I have no life”. Don’t confuse motion with movement. You have more prospects than you can protect. Boycott Petco until this punk is gone. Down with brown. You get no more of our $ until the product is fixed. No seasoned manager is going to work for this punk.
Bingo how Hipster Preller has kept his job is mystery. But but the prospects