The bidding war for Zack Wheeler is seemingly intensifying, with a winner potentially emerging any time now.
Will the White Sox claim victory?
A flurry of details regarding the pursuit of Wheeler hit the internet Tuesday and spilled into Wednesday, too, with the White Sox described in all of them as one of the teams most firmly in the chase. But the money it will take to acquire Wheeler was the biggest topic of discussion, with multiple reports saying he’ll command a five-year deal worth more than $100 million.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the White Sox are willing to pay such a price, which lines up with the team’s plans for an aggressive offseason and to spend big to add impact talent to the rebuilding effort.
Tuesday's reports featured a whole host of teams also chasing Wheeler's services — including the Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays — but Wednesday brought a new team into the fray: the Philadelphia Phillies. White Sox fans may remember the Phightin' Phills from such offseasons as 2018-19, when they were long reported to be the White Sox primary foes in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Of course, neither ended up with Machado, who took his talents to San Diego, but the Phillies did spend big bucks to land Bryce Harper.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported Wednesday that not only are the Phillies in on Wheeler, they're the highest bidders.
Things didn't quite work out how the Phillies hoped they would after their spending spree last winter that netted them such impact talents as Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. They finished fourth in the NL East and missed the postseason, while the second-place Washington Nationals, sans Harper, won the World Series. Already bringing in a new manager this offseason in Joe Girardi, the Phillies again seem intent on spending their way back to October, where they haven't been since 2011.
Things are changing at a rapid pace, and reports that Wheeler could pick his destination before the Winter Meetings begin Monday in San Diego keep piling up. Reportedly, you can cross the Rangers off the list, as Wheeler has done, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
But the Phillies might end up being the biggest threat to the White Sox not getting their man. Wheeler could stay in the NL East, the same division he's pitched in his entire big league career. According to Grant, Wheeler's choosing between the White Sox and Phillies, with the Reds "perhaps" in the mix, as well.
Hope everyone's wearing their seatbelts because the hot stove is moving at dangerously fast speeds.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.