On Wednesday, two key starting pitchers agreed to contracts with NL East teams. First, Zack Wheeler lands a 5-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million dollars.
This news was first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN.
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) December 4, 2019
Equally important, Wheeler turned down a 5-year offer worth around $120 million from the Chicago White Sox; according to various reports.
After his Tommy John Surgery in 2015, Wheeler has become a solid big league starter. Now 29-years of age, he has 60 starts over the past two seasons. During that period, his record is 23-15 with a 3.65 ERA. All of this culminates with 374 strikeouts in 377 2/3 innings.
Next up was Cole Hamels, who signed a one-year, $18 million dollar pact with the Atlanta Braves.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 4, 2019
In his own right, Hamels battled an oblique injury last year that affected his performance down the stretch. In all, he finished 2019 with a 7-7 record and 143 strikeouts to go along with a 3.81 ERA.
Hamels will join a nice rotation in Atlanta that already features Dallas Kuechel and Mike Soroka among some other decent arms. Equally important, this winter was the first time he’s been a free agent, so landing an $18 million dollar deal on a one-year contract seems to be like a low-risk move for the 36-year old to sign.
It’s interesting that these two deals happen before the MLB Winter Meetings on Sunday night in San Diego. Also, it will be interesting to see how they affect the market for fellow pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole; if at all.