Nick Wass/Associated Press
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Phillies are “facing a financial crunch and are open to offers” for Wheeler.
The 30-year-old produced a 4-2 record and 2.92 ERA in 11 starts during his first season in Philadelphia last year, but he is set to make $22.5 million in 2021.
Only Bryce Harper is scheduled to make more for the team next year with $27.54 million owed.
The money could be an issue for Philadelphia after lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic last season. Owner John Middleton reportedly told his staff the organization lost $145 million in 2020 and the team won’t be able to re-sign J.T. Realmuto or go after other top free agents, per Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
The team also reportedly laid off 80 employees from front office positions in November, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports.
These issues are now seemingly affecting those currently on the roster, with Wheeler becoming available in trades.
The right-hander could certainly provide value to another team willing to pay his salary. Wheeler had dealt with inconsistency in the past with the New York Mets but has finished the last three years with an ERA below four, earning 3.53 strikeouts per walk in this stretch.
He only allowed three home runs in 2020, with his 0.4 home runs per nine innings allowed leading the National League.
It could provide incentive for a contender to part with future assets to upgrade the rotation for 2021 and beyond.