Zack Wheeler Trade Rumors: Phillies Deny Being Open to Offers Amid Money Issues

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2020

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

One year after signing Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million deal, the Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly put the starting pitcher on the trade block.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Phillies are "facing a financial crunch and are open to offers" for Wheeler. However, the Phillies later denied the report to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, saying they "are not shopping or even entertaining" offers for Wheeler.

The 30-year-old produced a 4-2 record and 2.92 ERA in 11 starts during his first season in Philadelphia last year, but he is set to make $22.5 million in 2021.

Only Bryce Harper is scheduled to make more for the team next year with $27.54 million owed.

The money could be an issue for Philadelphia after lost revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic last season. Owner John Middleton reportedly told his staff the organization lost $145 million in 2020 and the team won't be able to re-sign J.T. Realmuto or go after other top free agents, per Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.

The team also reportedly laid off 80 employees from front office positions in November, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports.

These issues are now seemingly affecting those currently on the roster, with Wheeler being linked to a trade.

The right-hander could certainly provide value to another team willing to pay his salary. Wheeler had dealt with inconsistency in the past with the New York Mets but has finished the last three years with an ERA below four, earning 3.53 strikeouts per walk in this stretch. 

He only allowed three home runs in 2020, with his 0.4 home runs per nine innings allowed leading the National League.

It could provide incentive for a contender to part with future assets to upgrade the rotation for 2021 and beyond.


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