Yesterday was an odd day for the Philly faithful as ESPN’s Buster Onley reported that the Phillies are putting Zack Wheeler on the trade block. However, Phillies owner John Middleton debunked the news saying “Wheeler isn’t on the market and we aren’t even entertaining offers for him”, declaring Onley his report as fake news.
I see two ways this could have happened that this report came out.
1. Buster Onley source was wrong.
Buster Onley has his sources he trusts. And who knows, maybe the source was untruthful on this occasion or someone heard about the Phillies wanting to shred money and had the idea it could be Wheeler. The Phillies are obviously in a bad place financially, so maybe someone took this idea and took off with it. Making this type of reports, does get you clicks and as we all know, rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. Reporters have to keep the off-season somewhat exciting.
2. Middleton changed his mind.
After the report came out, a lot of Phillies fans were furious. Rightfully so, as this report comes fairly soon after the Phillies mentioning spending stupid money in free agency. The Phillies now seem to be in a turning point. No money for much needed additions and some players with a failry big contract. Middleton has reasons to put Wheeler on the trade market but trading Wheeler would get a terrible look from fans. And the fans are the ones you need, they are the customers. After seeing the report, Middleton could have noticed the negativity and felt the need to debunk the story.
Honestly, with Middleton providing his voice to the matter, it seems unlikely to me Wheeler gets traded in the end. Even if it was on the table, its off now. The just can not sell it to their customers when the eventually trade Wheeler now. Plus, Wheeler and his contract wouldn’t get you a big enough haul to make this a move Philly fans like. If the Phillies want empty seats, trade Wheeler and it won’t provide revenue to improve in the near future.
The Phillies are in trouble.
Photo from Matt Rourke/Associated Press
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