Phillies executive invokes baseball legend in Zack Wheeler trade denials

Philadelphia Phillies managing partner John Middleton refuted any reports that the team was looking to trade pitcher Zack Wheeler a year after the team signed him to a lucrative deal.

“The Great Bambino” himself wouldn’t capture the team’s imagination for a trade, Middleton told ESPN on Sunday.

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“If they offered me Babe Ruth, I wouldn’t trade him,” he said. “I have authorized no one to have a conversation about trading him.”

ESPN reported that the Phillies were looking to trade Wheeler. Middleton told the outlet that their sources were lying to them.

Team president Andy MacPhail doubled down on Middleton’s denial, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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“There’s no validity to it,” MacPhail said of the rumors. “Zack is very much in our plans going forward.”

The Phillies signed the right-handed pitcher over from the rival New York Mets last offseason on a five-year, $118 million contract. He is due to make $22.5 million during the 2021 season as long as his salary isn’t prorated again because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to ESPN, the Phillies are among the teams who were hit financially due to the pandemic. The report said the team was facing “tough financial decisions” going forward.

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Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen are also owed $20 million or more during the 2021 season.

Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on social media @Gaydos_