5 2025 free agents Yankees should already be focused on

It's never too early to get your cash (and your Cash) ready.
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game One / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
3 of 5

Zack Wheeler

Wheeler will have worrisome mileage on his right arm when he hits free agency next year at 34.5 years old; his snapdragon breaking ball occasionally looks like it's going to take his elbow along with it. The right-hander -- of course -- broke down repeatedly with the Mets, but has ascended to ace form with the Phillies, taking over numerous postseason series since first cracking the Dance in 2022.

The game has changed recently, though, and even as Wheeler enters his mid-30s, he'll still probably command a three- or four-year deal. This might not even be his last payday, if he can harness Max Scherzer's and Justin Verlander's surprising sturdiness.

Wheeler shouldn't be the Yankees' top priority because of his increasing breakdown potential, but if next winter's going to be an all-out spending spree and Burnes eludes them, he'd be a perfect running mate in New York (though not a fantastically secure Cole replacement, if worst comes to worst).

Since joining the Phillies, he's racked up full seasons of 213.1, 153, and 192 innings, with 63.1 phenomenal postseason frames tacked on. The only series in which he faltered was the 2022 World Series, when everything finally caught up to him. Hopefully, the house of cards doesn't come crashing in altogether if the Yankees choose to reward him with one last $100 million bounty.

Still, if the talent is negligible, and your choice is going long-term and losing $300 million or going short-term and committing one-third of that, you might take a chance.