Zack Wheeler has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a five-year deal worth $118 million.
Wheeler was one of the most highly sought-after free agent pitchers on the market this offseason, coming in after Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg in terms of quality but stood to be more affordable than either of those guys are perceived to be. As for that quality: Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks across 195.1 innings for the Mets this past season after a 12-7, 3.31 ERA season in 2018. Due to various injuries he missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons and part of the 2017 season, meaning that he has way less mileage on his arm than his 29 years would suggest.
Wheeler leaves the Mets for the division rival Phillies, where he’ll bolster a rotation headed up by Aaron Nola but which turned in an overall disappointing performance last year. He certainly improves them.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.