Phillies and Zack Wheeler discuss contract extension – NBC Sports Philadelphia

For four straight years, Zach Wheeler has provided the Phillies with top-level production.

For two years in a row, he reached peak performance when it mattered most, dominating playoff teams in front of national fans.

He made the All-Star team. He won the Gold Glove. He finished second in Cy Young voting. He made 10 starts in the postseason with the sixth-lowest ERA (2.42) and lowest WHIP (0.73) of all time.

He's on the short list of the best free agent signings in Philadelphia sports history, and he's about to hit free agency again.

The five-year, $118 million contract Wheeler signed with the Phillies before 2020 — a contract that some questioned at the time because it was more about expectations than past performance — expires after this season.

If he hits free agency after 2024, the season in which he turns 34, teams will be made. Major-market clubs with deep pockets will be in a position to offer Wheeler short-term deals, such as Max Scherzer deals with huge average annual salaries. Even in his mid-30s, Wheeler's recent record and relatively low career innings total could convince front offices that he deserves a deal closer to his 40th birthday. (Mandatory “Prevent injury” warning.)

It only takes one team to change the market for a player, and the Phillies are hoping Wheeler never hits the market. They want to re-sign him upfront. They wanted the same thing with Aaron Nola but couldn't reach an agreement before the 2023 season, and did so amid uncertainty the week before Thanksgiving with other clubs on the cards.

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Indications two months ago were that Wheeler's team seemed more interested in testing free agency than re-signing early. But as Phillies pitchers and catchers reported to Clearwater on Wednesday for spring training, Wheeler said his representatives are discussing a contract extension with the Phillies.

“I think they've talked. It's just between them now. I haven't heard much,” Wheeler said. “I know they're talking just like anyone in that situation. I'm just trying to focus on what we're doing right now and getting ready for the season.

“I hope the problem will be resolved before the regular season. I like the situation here. We are happy here. It is a good organization, we are winning and everything feels great and right. I love being here.

“I think this could happen at any time. I don't know if there are deadlines or anything like that. I'll leave that to my agent and the front office. I don't get involved and I just listen.”

Wheeler, who has watched Nola walk through 2023, said he's approaching next season like any other.

“It's not difficult at all for me,” he said. “Maybe for some guys, but it's just another year for me. Hopefully I can go out there and do well, stay healthy and it will take care of itself.”

Wheeler made it clear that he wanted to get paid what he was worth, but he also said that money was not the only factor in his decision, noting that he took less to sign with the Phillies than the White Sox offered in 2019.

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“It's not just about the money for me,” he said. “I took less to come here and be in a good place and be happy here and have my family happy. I really want what I feel like I've earned, but at the same time, you don't always get that. It's everyone being happy at the same time.” You don't want to be miserable and get paid too much. You want to be happy and get the pay you earned.”

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