With the New York Yankees undoubtedly looking to add to their starting pitching rotation this offseason, multiple options present upgrades. Gerrit Cole remains the top of the totem pole and will likely be in the mix, but his $30+ million expected average salary per season might be a deterrent, but the Yankees can afford it.
However, New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler is entering the free agent pool and could be a stellar add as well. He had an impressive 2019 campaign, posting a WAR of 4.1 in just over 195 innings pitched. His 11-8 record is packed full of excellent pitching outings and terrible run production from his team. The Yankees rarely have that issue and would be a great fit for his talents.
Having already faced the bright lights of New York City, he’s a logical player for general manager Brian Cashman to consider, and his second consecutive season with a sub 4.00 ERA proves his worth. Joining a rotation of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ would give the Yanks a solid foundation with money left over to spend.
Wheeler earned a just below $6 million this season but will get paid on the open market. The Bombers might have to spend somewhere in the $15-17 range for his talents, which could be a bargain if he continues to perform well at just 29-years-old.
What makes Zack Wheeler so attractive for the New York Yankees?
Despite Wheeler’s familiarity with the bright lights of New York City and the past two years of success, another factor plays a part in the Yankees’ potential interest. His fastball. The former Met has one of the league’s most electric fastballs, blowing away hitters — a desirable attribute. That aspect alone could earn him a massive payday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cashman dropped the hammer on this tentative deal.