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Texas Rangers fading in Zack Wheeler pursuit

Reports this morning suggest that other clubs are more likely than the Rangers to land Zack Wheeler

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
This is actually a wad of $100 bills Wheeler is giving to a panhandler after signing whatever his new deal will be
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Zack Wheeler rumors continue to swirl, and the Texas Rangers appear to be behind the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds, and potentially others in the pursuit of one of MLB’s top free agent starting pitchers, according to the latest info.

Buster Olney writes that the Phillies are seen as the “most potent bidders” for Wheeler, as they look to rebound from last year’s disappointing season and line up a replacement for Jake Arrieta, who is in the final year of his deal. Olney also lists the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox as suitors, along with the Rangers.

Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, says that the teams still alive are the Phillies, Reds and White Sox, and doesn’t even mention the Rangers — he does say it is possible other teams are “in the mix,” but mentions the Angels as a team with interest, not Texas.

When we did our poll on Wheeler, the vast majority of people wanted the Rangers to sign him, but that was at Kiley McDaniels’ projected 4 years, $68 million. Reports yesterday indicated that Wheeler already had an offer of at least 5 years, $100 million in hand, and it sounds like it could take as much as $25 million per year over 5 years, or possibly 6 years, to land Wheeler.

That’s a lot of money for a pitcher whose results have not lined up with his stuff thusfar, and given his injury history, I can’t help but get a Nathan Eovaldi vibe from him. On the other hand, he could also be another Max Scherzer, a guy who maximizes his potential and takes a step forward in his early 30s — and if that’s what happens, he’d be a bargain at $25 million per year.

Either way, it sounds like Wheeler to Texas is looking less likely right now, and it may be that the Rangers will re-focus their efforts on other pitchers out there — and I can start banging my Hyun-Jin Ryu/Josh Donaldson short-term high-AAV offseason plan again.