Sources: Phillies, Zack Wheeler agree to 3-year, $126M extension

Zack Wheeler has reached an agreement on a three-year extension that begins in 2025 and runs through the 2027 season with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team announced Monday, bypassing the possibility that the ace pitcher will become a free agent in the fall.

The deal is worth $126 million, according to sources.

With a salary of $42 million, Wheeler's deal is the most lucrative extension in baseball history in terms of average annual value. It also is in the neighborhood of the richest salaries for pitchers. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander signed multiyear deals as free agents with the New York Mets that averaged $43.3 million.

"I've really just enjoyed being here in Philly," Wheeler said Monday. "The fans are the best. Playing in Citizens Bank in October, there's nothing like it."

Wheeler, who is entering the final season of a five-year, $118 million contract, has had great success with the Phillies, a team that has doled out big money for stars in recent seasons (including Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Aaron Nola). There has been a sense this spring that the right-hander and the team would work out another deal.

"I was happy he got over the 40 million mark because he's one of the best pitchers in baseball the last couple of years," Harper said Monday. "So, he definitely deserves it, man."

Wheeler's deal does not contain a formal no-trade clause, but he will soon earn what are known as 10-and-5 rights -- he has more than 10 years of service time already, and once he completes his fifth season with the Phillies, he can veto any trade.

"I think it works out for me, I think it works out for the team," Wheeler said. "I'd rather have it now than go to free agency and see what happens."

Not that the Phillies would consider trading Wheeler, who has a 3.06 ERA in his first four seasons with Philadelphia (with a 137 adjusted ERA+) and 675 strikeouts over 629⅓ innings. Wheeler also led the major leagues in innings pitched (213⅓) in 2021 and won a Gold Glove Award last season.

Early in Wheeler's tenure with Philadelphia, owner John Middleton rejected the notion that the Phillies would ever consider trading the right-hander, saying he wouldn't deal him for Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. The front of the Phillies' rotation appears set for years to come, with Wheeler and Nola now under contract long-term, and with Ranger Suarez emerging as a high-end No. 3 starter.

Wheeler, 33, was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, selected by the San Francisco Giants, and as he ascended among the best prospects in the game, he was coveted by other teams. The Giants, making a push for the postseason in 2011, traded him to the Mets for Carlos Beltran.

Wheeler pitched in five seasons for the Mets, missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons after tearing an elbow ligament and undergoing an elbow reconstruction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.