There’s momentum in the market for righty Zack Wheeler, who is reportedly already sitting on a nine-figure offer. The Phillies are now perhaps the strongest pursuer of the 29-year-old, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports.
With the Philadelphia organization firmly entering the picture, Wheeler is sitting in an enviable position. There are a host of other teams still in the picture. Olney cites the Reds, White Sox, and Rangers as remaining involved. We’ve previously heard of intense interest from the Twins, who were reportedly still in the picture as of yesterday.
In another report this morning, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter) suggests that the Reds and White Sox are the other teams most clearly in the mix with the Phillies. But it’s still a fluid bidding situation, so far as is known publicly. Indeed, Rosenthal adds that the Angels “have shown real interest,” though their status at the moment isn’t clear.
This could be building into a perfect storm for Wheeler, whose big arm and relative youth hold obvious appeal. It seems teams have come to terms with his history of arm issues and are banking on a two-year track record of durability. In our ranking of the top 50 free agents, we predicted widespread interest to drive Wheeler to a five-year, $100MM deal with the Phillies. It now seems he will top that guarantee; Olney even floats the possibility that a team will end up offering a sixth year to land the in-demand hurler.