Wheeler and the Phillies
Wheeler named Opening Day starter for the Phillies. | Photo: Glen Hubbard
The Philadelphia Phillies have announced Zack Wheeler as the team's starter for Opening Day against the Atlanta Braves, scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at Citizens Bank Park. 
 
This marks Wheeler's inaugural Opening Day start in a Phillies uniform, effectively concluding fellow starting pitcher Aaron Nola's streak of six consecutive Opening Day starts. 
 
At the age of 34, Wheeler enters this season fresh off another dominant campaign in Philadelphia, despite the team's defeat in the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 
 
In a significant move earlier this March, Wheeler and the Phillies reached a notable milestone with a 3-year, $126 million contract extension. This extension boasts a $42 million annual average value (AAV), making Wheeler the highest-paid Phillie in history and setting a new benchmark for AAV in contract extensions across MLB. 
 
Among starting pitchers, Wheeler's $42 million AAV ranks as the fourth-highest, trailing only Shohei Ohtani's $46 million and contracts signed by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander with the New York Mets, each with a $43.3 million AAV. 
 
Since joining the Phillies as a free agent in 2019 with a five-year, $118 million deal, Wheeler has consistently proven himself as one of baseball's premier starters. Additionally, the Phillies secured Nola to a seven-year contract extension this offseason, fortifying their pitching rotation for the foreseeable future. 
 
Reflecting on his contract extension, Wheeler expressed his appreciation for Philadelphia, citing the unparalleled support of the fans and the electrifying atmosphere of Citizens Bank Park, particularly during postseason play. 
 
"I've really just enjoyed being here in Philly," Wheeler remarked. "The fans are the best. Playing in Citizens Bank Park in October, there's nothing like it."

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