The Minnesota Twins have been in pursuit of the right-hander and with his negotiations heading north of the $100 million mark, a decision could be close.
Things have been relatively quiet for most of Major League Baseball in the early weeks of the offseason, but the Minnesota Twins may get an answer from one of their top free-agent targets within the next week.
The Twins have been in contact with Zack Wheeler‘s representatives dating back to the MLB General Managers meetings in Arizona last month. While KSTP-TV’s Darren Wolfson reported last week that the Twins have yet to make a formal offer to Wheeler, it appears that someone already has.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Tuesday (subscription required) that negotiations have already climbed north of the $100 million mark for the right-hander’s services. In addition, it appears that negotiations have reached a point where Wheeler could be on the verge of a decision as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported there is a possibility and it “maybe even probable” that he signs before the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego next week.
With the exclusion of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, Wheeler may be considered the next best thing in this year’s free-agent crop of pitchers. His last two seasons haven’t been dominant (23-15, 3.65 ERA with the New York Mets in 2018 and 2019), but many feel that there is room for growth.
The feeling of untapped potential that surrounds Wheeler has created an aggressive market as Rosenthal also stated that teams feel he could range from anywhere from a third starter to an ace in waiting. This led to listing the Twins, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds as suitors and there’s still a chance other pitching-needy teams could swoop in and sign the 29-year old.
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For now, Twins fans will have to wait and see if they can lure Wheeler to Minnesota in the coming days. If they can, it would add to a rotation that has just Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi under contract for the 2020 season.