How Zack Wheeler's Reported $118M Contract Affects Madison Bumgarner Market

[CSNBY] How Zack Wheeler's reported $118M contract affects Madison Bumgarner market
Dalton Johnson

A former Giants top prospect is getting over $100 million on the free-agent market, while San Francisco's longtime ace looks to sign his own lucrative contract. 

Zack Wheeler, whom the Giants selected No. 6 overall in the 2009 MLB Draft and traded to the Mets in 2011, reportedly has agreed to five-year contract with the Phillies. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that Wheeler is signing for $118 million. 

The Athletic's Marc Craig was first to report Wheeler had agreed to terms with the Phillies. 

Does this mean Madison Bumgarner is set for a major payday his first time as a free agent? There are arguments for both sides. 

It really shouldn't come as a shock that Wheeler is getting over $100 million on the open market. MLB Trade Rumors predicted the right-hander would sign a five-year, $100 million contract with none other than the Phillies. But the website has MadBum signing a much cheaper, four-year, $72 million deal with the Twins. 

Those predictions came one month ago on Nov. 5. Much could change in that span, and it appears Bumgarner now is believed to sign a much heftier contract. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday that the Braves turned to veteran pitcher Cole Hamels after feeling Bumgarner's price tag likely will exceed $100 million. There are plenty of reasons for Bumgarner and his representatives to believe he deserves nine figures after seeing Wheeler's deal, too. 

After two freak injuries in 2017 and 2018, Bumgarner proved he was healthy and still a workhorse in 2019. Despite turning 30 years old in August, he led the majors with 34 starts and pitched 207 2/3 innings. The left-hander's velocity actually rose, too. 

Bumgarner's average four-seam fastball was 91.72 mph last season, according to Brooks Baseball, which is his highest since 2015. While MadBum is considered an old-school personality, he gave those in the sabermetrics community a big reason for optimism last season. The spin rate on his four-seamer went from 2,081 in 2018 to 2,405 last season, according to Baseball Savant

Though Bumgarner's fastball velocity in 2019 was in just the 10th percentile, his fastball spin rate was in the 87th percentile. 

Wheeler is considered a statcast sweetheart around the industry. He averaged nearly 97 miles per hour on his fastball last year. According to data from Baseball Savant, Wheeler's fastball velocity is in the 94th percentile, his opponent exit velocity is in the 90th percentile and his hard-hit percentage is in 82nd percentile. 

[RELATED: Gabe Kapler hasn't spoken with free agent Madison Bumgarner]

And though Bumgarner only is 10 months older than Wheeler, he has thrown over 1,000 more regular-season innings than the former Met, along with an extra 102 1/3 in the playoffs. 

Don't be surprised if Wheeler still earns more than the World Series hero, but MadBum certainly could sign a much larger contract than first expected on the open market. 

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