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Report: Zack Wheeler to the Phillies for $118M

The Twins will have to look elsewhere.

1:40 P.M. UPDATE

Zack Wheeler is off the market, as Ken Rosenthal reports that the right-handed starting pitcher has agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Original story

It's going to take a pretty penny to sign top free-agent starting pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler, and while the Twins have not yet been connected to Cole or Strasburg, they have been linked to Wheeler. 

On Tuesday, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal named the Twins among five teams who have a shot to sign Wheeler, who is 23-15 with a 3.65 ERA over the past two seasons, in addition to owning a fastball that averaged just shy of 97 mph last season with the Mets. 

But all of that hope has come crashing down Wednesday, with a report from ESPN's Buster Olney not naming the Twins while Rosenthal is now saying the teams still in the mix to get the hard-throwing 29-year-old right-hander are the Phillies, Red and White Sox, and perhaps other unnamed teams. 

The price tag for Wheeler will likely reach $100+ million over a five-year contract, according to Olney. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that the Twins, White Sox, Rangers and "others" remain interested in Wheeler, but a new report Wednesday from the Dallas Morning News says Wheeler has informed the Rangers that they're no longer in the mix. 

Finality with Wheeler could come soon as multiple reports suggest that there's a good chance he signs before baseball's winter meetings begin Sunday in San Diego. 

Minnesota's starting rotation currently includes Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, both of whom were All-Stars in 2019 but come with plenty of inconsistency. Right-hander Kyle Gibson signed a $30 million deal with the Rangers, and Martin Perez and Michael Pineda are free agents. 

There are a solid number of starting pitchers in the free-agent pool, but Wheeler is considered to be at the top of the second tier behind Cole and Strasburg. Beyond Wheeler, the top available arms include the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dallas Keuchel, Madison Bumgarner, Pineda, Rick Porcello and Julio Teheran. 

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