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Confirmed: Another great addition to Phillies

There’s a growing sense that the Phillies will extend their ace before Opening Day, and they seem committed to doing so this offseason.

With all of the recent talk about Zack Wheeler being signed to a contract extension by the Philadelphia Phillies, it’s difficult to avoid making connections. For Phillies fans, the possibility of locking up Wheeler has evolved from wishful thinking to something more imminent.

It’s no secret that Dave Dombrowski has made achieving this his top priority ever since the postseason concluded.

Re-signing Wheeler is the team’s top priority this offseason, Dombrowski made apparent to the media during the year-end press conference in October.

“Without getting into anything, because just we haven’t had these type of things [conversations], we would hope to have Zack Wheeler in our organization for years to come,” Dombrowski said. “Since he arrived, he has been outstanding, and we consider him to be a true pillar of our company. Thus, we would like him to stay here for a very long time.”

Zack Wheeler extension gaining traction

The notion of extending Zack Wheeler’s contract has at last gained traction. Getting a Wheeler extension done all along may have had an impact on the Phillies’ new sustainable approach to filling roster holes on the 2024 Phillies team, after they left the MLB Winter Meetings without a major prize for the first time in what seems like forever.

First, it was reported by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com at the end of November that Wheeler had spoken with the other team, but it was not clear if he wanted to take a look at the free agent market. It was obviously a noteworthy development that Wheeler and the Phillies had had conversations.

Fans of the Phillies should be thrilled with the fresh viewpoint that another MLB insider added yesterday.

Appearing on 97.5 The Fanatic, writer Jayson Stark from The Athletic detailed the mutual desire for both team and player to get something done.

What Jayson Stark knows is anyone’s guess. But that quote seems pretty confident that the two sides are going to get this done sometime after the Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes come to an end, and what’s left of the free agent market starts to pick up in its wake.

We’re all waiting for you Shohei. Any day now?

Locking up the top of the rotation for the future

If the biggest moves the Phillies make this offseason are re-signing Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, no one should be disappointed with that result.

With Nola a reliable number two or three in a contending team’s rotation, Wheeler is unquestionably the Phillies’ pitching staff’s ace. It is fundamentally necessary to have stability at the top of a rotation because the Florida Marlins are no longer bottom feeders in the NL East and the Atlanta Braves are designed to win now.

Regarding how the remainder of the rotation will fare in positions three through five in 2024, there are many unanswered questions. Will Rob Thomson once again turn to Taijuan Walker as a reliable rotation piece? Will Ranger Suárez continue to be fit and reliable? What will be the role of Cristopher Sánchez? Perhaps a young player like Griff McGarry or Mick Abel will advance to the major leagues?

These questions will be answered eventually, but there is no need to fret about spots one or two next season and won’t be for a few more years if they extend Wheeler.

It is quite evident that the Phillies will need to make a sizable payment to Wheeler. Although Aaron Nola accepted a $172 million seven-year hometown discount to remain in Philadelphia, Wheeler will undoubtedly demand more every year and should be able to command a salary well over $30 million.

Something like a four-year extension at age 33 would keep him wearing the Phillies uniform until he is 38. For a pitcher who underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery in the past and is probably nearing the end of his career, that’s a fair deal.

At the right price and with a responsible number of years added to his current contract, the Phillies should make every effort to keep Wheeler in red pinstripes this offseason.

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