💣 Phillies' Shocking Priority Revealed: Wheeler Takes the Spotlight Over Nola in Contract Talks! - footballivenews
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💣 Phillies’ Shocking Priority Revealed: Wheeler Takes the Spotlight Over Nola in Contract Talks!



The Philadelphia Phillies have expressed a clear interest in retaining right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler beyond the expiration of his current contract in 2024, with insiders suggesting that a new deal may be in the works during the upcoming offseason.

Jayson Stark, a Hall of Famer, shared significant insights on Wheeler’s future with the Phillies during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday evening. Stark emphasized that re-signing Wheeler is the top priority for the Phillies once the MLB offseason settles. According to Stark, the commitment to retaining Wheeler surpasses that of other players, including Aaron Nola, and he believes a deal will materialize because Wheeler holds a positive sentiment towards Philadelphia.

Wheeler has exceeded expectations since signing a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies in 2020. His on-field performance includes a 43-25 record, a 3.06 ERA, and a 2.90 FIP. Over the past four seasons, he leads all pitchers with a 19.3 WAR, and his 629 1/3 innings pitched rank fourth among starting pitchers. Additionally, Wheeler has showcased dominance in two postseason runs with the Phillies, boasting a 2.42 ERA in his first 11 career postseason appearances.

In his year-end press conference, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski expressed a strong desire to extend Wheeler’s tenure with the organization, emphasizing Wheeler’s significant contribution and role as a cornerstone of the team.

While the Phillies attempted to secure a long-term contract with Nola last spring, the tone surrounding Wheeler’s potential extension seems more definitive. Although the formal offer had not been presented at the time of Stark’s note, discussions about a new contract with Wheeler’s camp had reportedly taken place in late November. A formal offer from the Phillies to Wheeler is expected in the future, as reported by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

From Wheeler’s perspective, there are both advantages and disadvantages to signing a new contract before the 2024 season. While testing free agency could potentially yield a higher value, considering Wheeler’s consistent performance, the 33-year-old pitcher may prioritize the certainty and security of a lucrative contract extension, especially given his age, career workload, and history of Tommy John surgery.

The Phillies and Wheeler seem to have strong reasons to continue their partnership. The team has achieved deep playoff runs in the past two seasons, and Wheeler has realized his elite potential in Philadelphia. Wheeler’s personal ties, including his wife being from New Jersey and their growing family, further strengthen the connection to the region, making the prospect of remaining with the Phillies more appealing.