Phillies should still pursue Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery after Wheeler extension

Even after signing Wheeler to a contract extension, the Phillies can't rest with top pitching arms Snell and Montgomery still on the market.

Even after signing Zack Wheeler to a contract extension, the Phillies should still pursue Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery
Even after signing Zack Wheeler to a contract extension, the Phillies should still pursue Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia Phillies have finally announced the news we've all been waiting for since the beginning of the offseason. The Phillies have extended Zack Wheeler on a three-year, $126 million deal that will keep the ace in red pinstripes through the 2027 season.

Getting this extension done always seemed to be the number-one priority for the Phillies this winter. The player wanted to be here, and the team wanted to keep him around. Even as the months went by, it always seemed less a matter of if and more a matter of when this deal would get done.

Extending Wheeler now does everyone a whole lot of favors. Negotiating contract terms during the season can become a major distraction for a player and negatively affect performance on the field. The same can be said of going into a free agency walk year and having to answer questions about the future after every start.

The Phillies and Wheeler have put that all in the rearview mirror and can now concentrate on trying to win a championship during this four-year window.

Even with Wheeler and co-ace Aaron Nola now locked up long-term, is the Phillies rotation any better than it was last season? That's debatable. It can be argued that the Phillies remain one arm away from the type of rotation that can shut down teams in October and beyond. Can they still make that type of move?

The Phillies should still sign Montgomery or Snell

The Phillies still have lingering questions about their rotation in spots three through five. Taijuan Walker is paid to be a number three starter, but the right-hander couldn't even be trusted to take the field last October with the Phillies season hanging in the balance during the NLCS. Ranger Suárez is a fine enough number-four starter, and what should we realistically expect from Cristopher Sánchez?

It's not a stretch to believe that the Phillies are still short on quality starting pitching. For a team close to winning a World Series in 2022 and that just missed a chance to make it back to another last season, this is a team that could use another arm to solidify their case.

Can the Phillies swoop in and sign Jordan Mongomery or Blake Snell? If recent reports are accurate, the asking price for these two left-handers has come down quite a bit as they are the last elite free agents remaining on the market. But what would be a reasonable deal for the Phillies to pursue?

Recent reports have connected the Phillies to Blake Snell. These rumors have persisted since the Phillies and Wheeler reportedly reached an agreement on Feb. 24. A short deal for a lot of money would make a ton of sense for both parties. The Phillies get a two-time Cy Young Award winner to slide into a rotation for this season — and maybe build in a mutual option for 2025. All the team has to do is commit to the money owed this year and let Snell test free agency next offseason. Thank you for your service.

And sure, it's been a while since the Phillies have been connected to Jordan Montgomery, but why not go above and beyond to make this happen? What if the Phillies just had to spend money for Montgomery instead of being held hostage for top prospects at the MLB Trade Deadline this year in exchange for starting pitching? That's before we stake our World Series hopes on the sudden development of pitching prospects Mick Abel and Griff McGarry. Just spend the money.

Bryce Harper sure would like to see another rotation arm brought in.

“We have an opportunity to have 1A and 1A again with the two guys [Wheeler and Nola] up there at the top," Harper told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "Then you go Ranger [Suárez] and two other guys still out there right now, so we might have a chance at those two guys [Snell and Montgomery] as well.”

There's no definitive time frame for any team in any sport to win a championship. As the Phillies enter year three of a competitive window, they will have to fend off a number of National League foes who have gotten better this offseason. The Phillies still have time to upgrade their rotation. Let's hope they make that happen.

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