Jake Arrieta is really the only other legitimate name in the Phillies' rotation, and he is entering the final season of his contract. The 29-year-old Wheeler will look to stabilize the part of the team that haunted the Phillies the most in their .500 2019 season despite adding Bryce Harper last spring. That led to the firing of former manager Gabe Kapler, who has already found a home with the San Francisco Giants.
Wheeler had spent his entire seven-year career with the Mets, and now remains in the NL East Division, as he finally moves on after being the subject of trade rumors each of the past two Trade Deadlines. Following Tommy John Surgery in 2015, Wheeler made 60 starts over two seasons and went 23-15 with a 3.65 ERA and 374 strikeouts over 377.2 innings. His best season came in 2018 when he set a career high in wins with 12 over 29 starts along with a 3.31 ERA. He is coming off an 11-win season that saw him strike out a career-high 195 batters, and he looks to take that momentum to the City of Brotherly Love, where they hope to prove that Harper's deal was not a waste of money.
Other notable names that got signed this past week is veteran Cole Hamels, who is joining the Atlanta Braves on a one-year contract. The deal will pay the former Texas Ranger $18 million, as he joins a young rotation headlined by Max Fried, Mike Soroka, and Mike Foltynewicz. He will take over the roles that two other veterans in Julio Teheran and Dallas Keuchel had for them, as both are now free agents this off-season. Hamels has 14 years of experience in the major leagues, including with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, but has been an average pitcher over the past couple seasons, He went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA and 143 strikeouts in less than 150 innings in 2019, struggling to find consistency. He was under 150 innings in a season for just the third time in his career, so he is now ready to take on the leadership role on his way out for the young Braves hurlers of the future.
The Texas Rangers are now looking for another arm to add to their rotation, and they found one this week in Jordan Lyles, whom they gave a two-year, $16 million contract. He is the second starter that the Rangers have added this season, as they also gave Kyle Gibson a three-year, $28 million a couple of weeks ago. That puts them with Lance Lynn and Mike Minor in a rotation that has the potential to be okay. The 29-year-old Lyles did struggle a bit to start the year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he posted a 5.36 ERA through the first half of the season. After getting traded to the Milwaukee Brewers he was able to turn things around and recorded a 2.45 ERA to help them to the Postseason in his second stint with them. He was used more out of the bullpen with the Brew-Crew, but is expected to jump back in the rotation with Texas.