MLB Rumors: Phillies Eyeing Superstar Free Agents Even After Zack Wheeler Deal


Dec 6, 2019

The Philadelphia Phillies made a big splash in free agency Wednesday, reportedly agreeing to a five-year, $118 million contract with right-hander Zack Wheeler.

Now, it sounds like they’re just getting started.

USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported Friday, citing two people with direct knowledge, that the Phillies plan to strongly pursue free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon even after landing Wheeler.

Nightengale added that fellow free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson is considered Philadelphia’s potential fall-back plan if it can’t sign Rendon, who’s widely considered the best position player available on the open market this offseason.

“The Phillies still would like to pursue another starter and relief pitching, but Rendon has become their No. 1 target,” Nightengale wrote.

This wasn’t the only Phillies-related news to surface Friday, as MLB insider Jon Heyman reported that Philadelphia has shown interest in both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg — the top two starting pitchers available in free agency — amid the organization’s quest to have a huge offseason.

According to Heyman, the Phillies seem especially interested in Strasburg, who just earned World Series MVP honors while winning the Fall Classic with the Washington Nationals alongside Rendon.

Signing Rendon, Cole and/or Strasburg would cause Philadelphia to surpass the $208 million luxury tax threshold, as the Phillies also signed former Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract in free agency last offseason.

But that possibility — and the tax penalties that come with exceeding the threshold — don’t seem to be limiting the organization’s aggressiveness after finishing with an 81-81 record in 2019.

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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