Lots of pitching news today on the MLB hot stove on Wednesday. First, the Phillies were linked to free agent pitcher Zach Wheeler. Then, word broke that former Phillies ace Cole Hamels will sign with the Atlanta Braves. But that was not all.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Phillies are looking at World Series ace Stephen Strasburg:
Phillies are looking at Stephen Strasburg. They just saw old friend Cole Hamels go to rival Braves but expect them to work hard to improve rotation. Phils also in on Wheeler, as noted, plus others. Also linked to SS: WAS, NYY, LAD, SD. Incumbent Nats seen as favorites for now.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 4, 2019
The Washington Nationals remain the favorites by many for keeping their ace.
Strasburg opted out of the remaining four years and $100 million due on a seven-year, $175 million contract signed before the 2017 season. Strasburg has been stellar for the Nationals the last two seasons, but has a history of arm troubles which cause some to pause. How serious the Phillies are could depend on who else they get.
One thought: this could be a leaked report to encourage someone such as Wheeler to sign on the dotted line. If the Phillies are indeed favorites for Wheeler, maybe they are trying to make one last push. If the Phillies signed someone like Strasburg, they probably would add a second pitcher of a much lower profile than Strasburg.