MLB rumors: Phillies, Reds seen as top bidders for Zack Wheeler

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As MLB’s winter meetings draw closer, free-agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler’s market is reportedly heating up with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies among the most aggressive pursuers.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Philadelphia and Cincinnati are currently viewed as the top bidders to land Wheeler.

According to the report, Wheeler is also receiving significant interest from the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers in a bidding war that will land the right-handed pitcher a deal in excessive of $100 million for five-plus seasons.

The White Sox and Reds have been two of the most active teams early in free agency. Chicago signed Yasmani Grandal and is looking to become a playoff contender next season with an active winter. Meanwhile, the Reds continue to target impact talents in free agency after signing Mike Moustakas.

Wheeler performed well during the 2019 season with the New York Mets. He posted a 3.96 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and struck out 195 batters across 195.1 innings. He’s viewed as the third-best pitcher on the open market, behind Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, with the potential to become a No. 1 starter.

He could reportedly sign before the weekend, though, it likely won’t be with the New York Yankees as the front office moved on from Wheeler to focus on Cole and Strasburg.