Wheeler spurns Chicago White Sox, signs with Phillies
In pursuit of star free agent Manny Machado last off-season, the White Sox came up short on the money end.
Even though they offered Machado a package that could have been worth $320 million over 10 years, only $250 million was guaranteed.
Machado wound up signing with the San Diego Padres for 10 years and a guaranteed $300 million.
Back at it this off-season and feeling pretty good about themselves after already signing all-star catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million contract and retaining Jose Abreu on a three-year, $50 million deal, the Sox were hoping to announce the addition of Zack Wheeler on Wednesday.
They offered the free-agent starting pitcher the highest contract -- five years for more than $120 million.
Wheeler opted to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for five years and $118 million.
According to a source, Wheeler took less to join Philadelphia due to "family considerations."
The 29-year-old righty is getting married on Dec. 31, and his fiance is a New Jersey native who prefers Wheeler pitching closer to home.
Drafted No. 6 overall in 2009 by the San Francisco Giants, Wheeler was traded to the Mets two years later for Carlos Beltran and cash. In five seasons with New York, Wheeler was 44-38 with a 3.77 ERA and 726 strikeouts in 749⅓ innings.
Tommy John surgery and ensuing complications forced Wheeler to miss the 2015 and '16 seasons.
Before learning Wheeler picked the Phillies on Wednesday, the White Sox also were stung by Cole Hamels' decision to sign with the Braves. Hamels, 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA for the Cubs last season, agreed to a one-year, $18 million contract with Atlanta.
Nearing his 36th birthday (Dec. 27), Hamels was 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA in his first 17 starts with the Cubs before straining his left oblique. After spending five weeks on the injured list, Hamels was 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA over his final 10 starts.
The veteran left-hander did not receive a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer from the Cubs last month, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Heading into the off-season, general manager Rick Hahn said the Sox were looking to add two veteran starting pitchers.
They still are, one on a longer contract and one on a shorter deal.
With Wheeler and Hamels off the market, the White Sox still have options.
Madison Bumgarner is no longer a Cy Young Award candidate like he was from 2013-16, but the 30-year-old lefty tied for the major-league lead with 34 starts last season while going 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 207⅔ innings for San Francisco.
Two other left-handed starters -- Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel -- also are available. Pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Ryu led the majors with a 2.32 ERA while going 14-5.
Ryu and Keuchel are seeking multiyear deals.
Brett Anderson is a name to watch on a shorter contract. Healthy last year, Anderson was 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA in 31 starts for Oakland.
Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez are back in the Sox's rotation next season, and Michael Kopech is set to return from Tommy John surgery.