The Phillies maxed out with the signing of Zack Wheeler but $118 million for five years will win some games for the Phils and pay some bills for Zack. The Yankees signed the big ace in free agency, Gerrit Cole, for $36 million a year which will total $324 million over the nine years of his contract.
Because of contract mistakes and injuries the Phillies Front Office has little room left before hitting the “luxury tax” threshold. They were able to work in a Didi Gregorius contract but that apparently is going to be about it.
This should give a great opportunity for Spencer Howard to make the five man Phillies starting rotation directly out of spring training. Please, no more Vinny “Velo”or Nick “Potential” in the starting rotation. Let them work in the pen or at AAA.
Howard will cost this season only the MLB minimum salary of $563,500 a year. He has stuff similar to Cole and Wheeler. In 2019, Cole relied primarily on his four seam Fastball (97mph) and Slider (89mph), also mixing in a Curve (83mph) and Change (89mph). He also rarely throws a Sinker (96mph) according to reports, read HERE.
In an Arizona Fall League game I followed on the net, Howard struck out the third batter for the final out in the first inning with the following mph listed pitch speeds of 97.2, 83.6, 97.3, 98.4, 86.8, 87.8,, 98.1 which probably included a change up and slider and struck out the batter swinging with a 98.6 Four-seam fastball on a 2-2 count to end the inning. Over the next two innings, his Fourseam Fastball was sitting at 96 mph and he also added into to his pitch mix in a few slow curves at 76-78 mph.
In 2019, according to the PITCHf/x system, Wheeler relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (97mph), also mixing in a Slider (91mph), Curve (81mph) and Change (89mph).
I will take two power pitchers, such as Wheeler and Howard, in a Phillies 2020 rotation at a third of the cost of the one power pitcher the Yankees have in their rotation any day!