Possible move before Opening Day: Phillies ink Zack Wheeler to an extension
Phillies ace Zack Wheeler is entering the final year of his five-year, $118 million deal that he signed before the start of the 2020 season. Throughout the offseason, there have been whispers of extension talks from the Phillies front office.
Dave Dombrowski discussed a Wheeler extension at his end-of-year press conference in November.
"We would hope to have Zack Wheeler in our organization for years to come," Dombrowski said at the time. "He's been tremendous since he's been here, and we look at him as a real stalwart of our organization. So we would hope that he would be here for a long time."
In January, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal expressed his belief that the Phillies would extend Wheeler during spring training.
And as recently as last week, in a radio interview on SportsRadio 94WIP, Dombrowski said it's still a priority for the team to sign Wheeler to an extension before he becomes a free agent.
"Well, we would love to sign Zack today, if we could," Dombrowski said. "I think it's important that we re-sign him. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. [I] really never get into negotiations publicly, but you can say it's important for us and we would love to get that done. I know Wheels loves it in Philadelphia, loves being part of the organization. I would say that it's a priority for us."
With no major pitching moves and a window for success open right now, it would be in the team's best interest to extend Wheeler. The 2023 Gold Glove winner has been a staple in the rotation after coming over from the Mets on what is now a cheap deal. Most likely, the team won't get the discounted price this time around.
The going rate seems to be in the upper $30 to $40 million range — a hefty asking price — but Wheeler has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since coming aboard. The 33-year-old is first in the MLB in fWAR and fourth in innings among all pitchers since 2020.
A new contract would likely be in the three- to five-year range, over $100 million total. While it may seem steep, right now is the best chance for the Phillies to contend for a championship. Unless they have other plans in mind, look for Wheeler and the Phillies to be engaged in extension talks throughout the spring.