Improvements to the Phillies rotation may not end at Zack Wheeler; they still reportedly seek one more starter and have not ruled out Stephen Strasburg.
The Philadelphia Phillies spent nearly $120 million on Wednesday to improve their starting rotation by signing longtime New York Mets RHP Zack Wheeler to a five-year contract.
Despite the significant addition, the third-largest free agent contract the Phillies ever awarded to a free agent, the organization reportedly still is not satisfied. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies “still seek one more starter,” and have not ruled “anything out.”
Among those starting pitchers the organization reportedly still has interest in includes 2019 Washington Nationals World Series champion and 10-year veteran RHP Stephen Strasburg.
“I think they’re still going to try to add another starting pitcher … and they have looked at Stephen Strasburg,” Heyman said Wednesday afternoon on SportsRadio 94 WIP. “I haven’t heard that they ruled it out.”
Heyman noted that Strasburg is “probably a longshot for anybody but Washington,” and that even the Yankees, who are meeting with him on Wednesday, “feel that it is a longshot for them.”
“They think he’s probably going back to the Nats, but you never know,” Heyman said. “The Phillies have gotten players from the Nats before … it depends on the bidding. They’re still looking for a pitcher, and I haven’t heard that they ruled it out.”
Strasburg, 31, recorded a National League-best 18 wins and 209 innings this past season for the eventual-champion Nationals. His 18-6 record, 3.32 ERA and 1.038 WHIP helped him to a fifth-place Cy Young Award finish and 15th-place MVP Award finish. Overall, the right-hander has a 112-58 career record and 3.17 ERA spanning 239 starts since his June 2010 debut.
Other teams currently linked to Strasburg, other than the Phillies, Yankees and incumbent Nationals, include the Los Angeles Dodgers and his hometown San Diego Padres, according to Heyman.
If Heyman’s report is true, it will be interesting to see who else the Phillies sign to complement Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin and Wheeler in the rotation. They had reported interest in a reunion with their 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, however the southpaw signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves just minutes before Wheeler’s reported signing.