Free agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler is going to be rich. Now all that’s left to determine is how rich. Oh, and which name will be on his direct deposits.
The Twins are one of the teams that are interested in the free-agent starter formerly of the Mets. And if they way to sign him it could cost them more than $100 million, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic.
Rosenthal cites MLB sources that say that Wheeler, 29, will get at least 5 years in his next contract, and that the value will push past $100 million — since he already has one 9-figure offer in hand, per Rosenthal.
The other teams that Rosenthal notes as in the mix for Wheeler are the White Sox, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays. You’d also think that teams would be interested in Wheeler if they pursue Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg and don’t sign them. But timing could complicate that game.
The ex-Mets starter is coming off the best year of his career, in which he started 31 games, posted a 3.96 ERA and struck out 23.6% of hitters. [Jake Odorizzi, for comparison, is two months older than Wheeler and started 30 games with a 3.51 ERA and struck out 27.1% of hitters.]
Signing Wheeler would also cost the Twins their third-highest draft pick and the associated bonus pool money, since he rejected a Qualifying Offer from New York. They’d have to pay that same penalty to sign any one of the group comprising Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner.