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Veteran right-handed starter Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a multi-year extension that will keep him in place beyond this winter, or the end of his original five-year, $118 million contract. Wheeler's new deal is a three-year pact worth $126 million that will begin next season, CBS Sports HQ insider Jim Bowden has confirmed.

Wheeler, who turns 34 in late May, is headed into his 10th MLB season and fifth with the Phillies. Across his career, he's put up an 87-63 record with a 3.45 ERA, but his time in Phillie red has been even better: 43-25 with a 3.06 ERA and Cy Young votes in three different seasons. Per Baseball Reference's estimates, he's tallied 19.6 of his 28.7 Wins Above Replacement since signing with the Phillies following the 2019 campaign.

Zack Wheeler
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Wheeler's desire to stay with the Phillies -- and the organization's hope of keeping him around -- was no secret. "Zack would not mislead you. Of course we've talked. It is a priority. We would love to get that deal done," top baseball operations executive Dave Dombrowski recently told the Associated Press. "... He's a guy we would love to have in our organization for a long time."

Wheeler has started at least 25 times in each of his last five full seasons. He last required a stint on the injured list in 2022, when he dealt with a case of right forearm tendinitis. Wheeler has mostly stayed healthy since earlier in his career, when he underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2015 with the Mets. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons as a result, and then dealt with even more arm troubles upon his return, limiting him to 17 appearances in 2017. Overall, though, Wheeler has been a reliable quantity in recent years, in performance and availability. The Phillies are banking on that continuing.

Wheeler's $42 million AAV will be the highest in Phillies franchise history, and represents the highest AAV for a contract extension in Major League Baseball history. It'll also serve as the fourth-highest AAV in MLB history overall, with Shohei Ohtani, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander -- all free-agent deals signed in the last few winters -- clocking in ahead of him. 

The Phillies kicked off this offseason by re-signing right-hander Aaron Nola to a seven-year pact worth $172 million shortly after he became a free agent. The Phillies have also been rumored to have interest in figuring out a new agreement with star first baseman Bryce Harper. Harper is still signed through the 2031 season, at which point he'll be 39 years old; as such, it's unclear if the sense of urgency is there to get a deal done before Opening Day 2024.