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Report: Zack Wheeler agrees to 5-year deal with Phillies

Zack Wheeler

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler to a five-year deal worth over $100 million, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports the deal is worth $118 million.

Wheeler was one of the most interesting pitchers in free agency.

In a market that also includes Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner, Wheeler was actually seen as the third-best available starter by some, but he also comes with heavy risk.

The 29-year-old is coming off a 2019 campaign with the New York Mets in which he went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA, allowing 196 hits while striking out 195 batters over 195 1/3 innings of work.

Wheeler was originally selected by the San Francisco Giants with the sixth overall pick of the 2009 MLB Draft, but never actually played a game for the Giants before being traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran in July 2011.

He made his big-league debut in 2013, going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA. The following year, Wheeler became a full-time member of New York’s rotation, making 32 starts and going 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA while surrendering 167 hits and fanning 187 hitters across 185 1/3 frames.

Then, the injuries started to hit.

Due to Tommy John surgery, Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 and threw just 86 1/3 innings in 2017 thanks to multiple setbacks that included a flexor strain, biceps tendinitis and a stress reaction.

He returned as a full-timer in 2018 and made 29 starts, going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA and giving up 150 hits while registering 179 punchouts through 182 1/3 frames.

While Wheeler has decent lifetime numbers (3.77 ERA, 3.71 FIP and 1.294 WHIP), he has not shown he is ace material, and his checkered injury history makes one of the biggest — if not the biggest — risks on the free-agent market.