Phillies: 3 reasonable expectations for Zack Wheeler
By David Esser
What can Phillies fans expect from their new starting pitcher Zack Wheeler?
Before the MLB season was put on pause due to a worldwide pandemic, one of the most enticing Phillies stories heading into 2020 was that of Zack Wheeler. Signed to a 5-year deal worth $118 million dollar contract this past offseason, the expectations surrounding the new Philly pitcher were through the roof.
For the record, I really like Wheeler. I love what he brings to the table as a starting pitcher and I love the price for which the Phillies landed him at. Two months ago, I even went as far as to predict this upcoming season to be the best of Wheeler’s career.
With all that said, it’s important to have a little bit of realism when it comes to the Phillies this year. Especially with spring training being cut short, these are what we would call “reasonable” expectation to have for Wheeler as he makes his debut season for the Phillies.
He’s Not Gerrit Cole
Entering into the offseason this past winter, a lot of fans wanted the Phillies to dip their hands back into the “stupid money” bag, and splash hard on an established ace. With guys like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg on the open market, this seemed like a legit possibility.
However, Matt Klentak and the Phillies opted to go for a far cheaper option in Wheeler. Considering Cole got $324 million and Strasburg got $245 million, it’s hard to blame the Phillies for opting with the former New York Met.
While Wheeler is an established starter in this league, and is absolutely oozing with potential, he’s not the second coming of Cliff Lee and he’s definitely not the Phillies “version” of Gerrit Cole. Wheeler was added to sure up the top of the rotation with Aaron Nola. Keep that in mind before freaking out when “Wheels” doesn’t win a Cy Young this year.