After his new club officially announced the signing of former Met Zack Wheeler on Monday, Phillies manager Joe Girardi was on hand at the Winter Meetings in San Diego to give his thoughts on, among other things, the addition of the starting pitcher.
In his mind, there's an awful lot to be excited about.
"I think you're going to have a 1 and 1A with him and Nola," Girardi said. "You look at what he's done the last few years, and really throughout his career, he's continued to get better and better. He's a power guy with four pitches and I think there's really more in the tank there."
Wheeler's tank was anything but empty in 2019, when he went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA for the Mets and tossed 195 1/3 innings, the most of his career. He missed all of 2015 and 206 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
As Girardi noted, the Phillies certainly view the 29-year-old as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. His five-year, $118 million contract is worth fewer than $20 million less than Jacob deGrom's contract of the same length.
"He's just starting to reach his potential," Girardi said. "He's going to be more dominant than he's been and we're really looking forward to seeing him at the top of the rotation."
Girardi also pointed to Wheeler working with both pitching coach (and former Reds manager Bryan Price) and catcher J.T. Realmuto has people who could have a positive impact on Wheeler with the Phillies.
Regardless of how his tenure in Philadelphia plays out, first impressions are that Wheeler has a big fan in his new manager.