White Sox 'showing interest' in pitcher Zack Wheeler

Dan Santaromita

Zack Wheeler isn't technically a free agent yet, but the rumor mill surrounding him is already showing some activity.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi gave an update on Wheeler, including mentioning the White Sox as one of the teams "showing interest" in him.

For starters, he has to actually enter free agency. The Mets gave Wheeler a qualifying offer for $17.8 million. He has until 4 p.m. Thursday to accept or reject that. If he rejects it, then he becomes a free agent.

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In addition to the White Sox, Morosi mentions the Angels and Padres as possible suitors.

Wheeler isn't going to be the top choice for teams in the market for starting pitching. Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are premium options that are available. Wheeler is another solid option if he hits the market.

The 29-year-old has a career 3.77 ERA in five seasons with the Mets. He was a top ten pick in the 2009 draft and had two solid years in 2013 and 2014 before going down with Tommy John surgery in 2015.

Wheeler didn't return to an MLB mound until 2017 and the results weren't good. That year, he had a 5.21 ERA while allowing 10.1 hits per nine (a career-worst mark).

The last two years have seen Wheeler bounce back. He had a 3.31 ERA with 179 strikeouts and 55 walks in 182 1/3 innings in 2018. This past season his ERA jumped up to 3.96, but his strikeout rate went up (9.0 K/9), his walk rate went down (a career-best 2.3 BB/9) and he logged a career-high 195 1/3 innings.

Price is always a major question when dealing with free agents, but other than his first year back from injury, Wheeler has shown a level of consistency that would greatly boost the White Sox rotation. If Lucas Giolito is the team's ace and Michael Kopech returns from injury as a solid pitcher, Wheeler could round out a strong top three of a rotation. Throw in the upside of Dylan Cease, who endured a rocky rookie season, and the White Sox rotation could start to look good if Wheeler comes on board.

With that in mind, it's no surprise the White Sox would be interested in Wheeler. The key part is winning the bidding war (assuming he goes to free agency).

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White Sox 'showing interest' in pitcher Zack Wheeler originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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