September 17, 2021

Zack Wheeler Could be the Houston Astros’ Next Reclamation Project (Baseball Essential)

There’s no replacing Gerrit Cole, but the Houston Astros can continue doing what they do best this offseason: embark on a reclamation project. And their next project could be right-hander Zack Wheeler.

With Cole poised to receive an earth-shattering contract in free agency, the Astros are likely letting the hard-throwing right-hander walk. The other aspect of such a decision is Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke being under contract for $32-33 million apiece through 2021. Consequently, the Astros need to add a starting pitcher.

Now, Verlander and Greinke are a stellar pitching duo and the return of right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. — who missed the 2019 season with a elbow injury — puts Houston’s starting rotation in great shape for 2020. At the same time, the American League pennant winners won’t be as formidable without Cole, who was arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball last season. Left-hander Wade Miley, who recorded a 3.98 ERA across 33 starts last season, is also a free agent.

The New York Yankees (103-59) and Minnesota Twins (101-61) are surely looking to beef up their rosters this offseason. The Astros must counter, especially since they’re…

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