The Phillies have been busy this offseason. Their largest signing of the offseason has to be RHP Zack Wheeler, formly with the New York Mets. The Phils brought Wheeler in on a massive 5 year, $118 Million contract. This signing is a big deal in multiple ways. Pitching has been a weakspot for the Phils for the past couple of years. The last major arm the team brought in was Jake Arrieta, and that has not panned out they way it was planned. With that said, pitching was, and still is a big need for the Phillies, and this adresses it. This deal brings great importance too because we took Wheeler from a division rival. The Mets rotation has terrorized the Phillies in the past, so signing Wheeler is one less arm they need to worry about facing.
The hard throwing rights carries much potential. The 29 year old has a 10.2 Career WAR, with 4.1 coming from last season alone. He has a 44-38 career record, going 11-8 in 31 starts last year. Yes that is slightly low for his deal, but he was on the Mets, can we really blame him? Wheeler has a 3.77 career ERA, coming in with a 3.96 ERA last year, which is quite high, but then again, we signed him for his potential. Wheeler’s fastball hits 97 MPH consistantly, along with a 91 MPH slider, a changeup, and a curve. His vast pitch arsenal is something the Phillies need in a starter. He earned his contract in the 2nd half of the year. In the second half, Wheeler posted a 2.83 ERA, only giving up 78 hits, and 24 earned runs in 12 starts. In 76.1 innings of 2nd half work, Wheeler struck out 65 batters, while only walking 16. Wheeler went 5-2 to end the year.
With all being said and done, the signing of Wheeler for the amount the Phillies gave him is a risk reward type situation. Though he comes in with numbers not worth $118 Million, he has been a great finisher in the past, which is what the Phillies need. Wheeler is a pitcher who has been great in the 2nd half of the year, and could help lead a late season playoff push, which for that reason alone, justifies the signing to me.