Zack Wheeler is looking for a big payday. The latest Reds rumors have Cincinnati in the mix for the former New York Mets pitcher.
According to the New York Post, Zack Wheeler is expected to make a decision on his future by the end of the Winter Meetings. Previous Reds rumors have linked Cincinnati to the former New York Mets pitcher, and apparently, the team is still engaged in talks with the right-hander. Adding Wheeler would make the Cincinnati Reds rotation quite possibly the best in all of baseball.
The New York Post isn’t the only outlet reporting the Reds interest in Wheeler. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic cited sources claiming that Wheeler has at least one offer in excess of $100M over five years. Considering Wheeler’s injury history, the length of the contract would definitely be called into question if that team is the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds have money to spend. Even after reportedly inking second baseman Mike Moustakas to a four-year/$64M deal, the Reds are said to still be evaluating Wheeler and potential fits in the outfield. Rosenthal went on MLB Network with Chris Russo and said the Reds are not yet done making moves this offseason.
Some fans are going to sit back and criticize the Reds front office for throwing their hat into the ring for the services of another starting pitcher. After all, Cincinnati has one of the most dangerous starting rotations in Major League Baseball. Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray, and Anthony DeSclafani are four of the five starters lined up for the Reds in 2020.
That being said, both Bauer and DeSclafani are free agents following the season. Bauer has announced on many occasions that he plans to test free agency and has no desire to sign a long-term deal. While a contract extension with DeSclafani may be more attainable, Disco has had injury issues in the past and last season was the first time he’d been healthy since 2016.
Wheeler comes with his own set of injury concerns. Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017. He also missed some games last season due to shoulder fatigue. But, Rosenthal notes that it appears teams are no longer concerned with Wheeler’s health, as he’s put together back-to-back solid seasons with a combined 3.65 ERA with 374 strikeouts.
For a team that’s starved for hitting, it’s curious that the Cincinnati Reds are in the mix for Zack Wheeler. However, with very few options remaining that will provide a definitive offensive upgrade, perhaps jumping into the Wheeler sweepstakes is worth it.
With Tyler Mahle not taking that leap last year, and prospects like Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, Nick Lodolo, and Hunter Greene still a ways away from making their major league debut, the pursuit of Wheeler makes sense. If the latest Reds rumors are true and Cincinnati adds Wheeler to the rotation, it would certainly solidify the starting rotation for the next several years.