The Philadelphia Phillies made a splash in free agency on Wednesday, agreeing to terms on a five-year, $118 million contract with starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. The Phillies were looking to upgrade their rotation, which ranked 15th in xFIP and 23rd in WAR last season.
The signing comes after word the Phillies were also interested in free agent pitcher Stephen Strasburg, per reporter Jon Heyman. Strasburg opted out of his contract with the Washington Nationals and has been taking meetings with a host of teams. Heyman reported other teams linked to Strasburg include the Nationals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres. Heyman is hearing the Nationals are the favorites for now.
Strasburg met with the Yankees on Wednesday, with the meeting described as having gone well, according to mlb.com reporter Mark Feinsand. He reported the two sides did not get into “exact dollars” but the pitching market was discussed.
In the meantime, while the Padres have been connected to Strasburg, reporter San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kevin Acee is reporting “it is virtually certain the team will not award a massive free agent deal for a second straight winter.” He thinks this removes them from the market for Strasburg or fellow Southern California native Gerrit Cole if their reported price tags don’t go down.