Mets sign Michael Wacha on December 13th
In early December, Brodie Van Wagenen made his first purchase of the 2019 Winter Meetings when he inked former St. Louis Cardinals starter, Michael Wacha to a one-year deal. After taking the league by storm during his performance in the 2013 season, Wacha has slowly fizzled out of the spotlight in the seven average seasons that have followed.
Interestingly, this signing appears to have a high ceiling for success due to the acquired depth of steady right-handed pitching out of the bullpen with the possibility of being a spot starter throughout the season. Plus, his sensible $3 million deal includes incentives worth closer to $7 million based upon how many games he starts, providing him with an added layer of motivation to perform.
Acquiring Wacha not only shores up the back end the Mets rotation (should he beat out Steven Matz for the fifth man spot), but he is also a sensible long reliever out of the pen, giving Mets manager Rojas the flexibility of having a spot-starter to spell his starters down the stretch, or allow them to carry a six-man rotation should they ever desire to do so. However, it’s a long season, and it’s good to have options.
It’s been a downward trajectory since his best statistical season in 2015 when he went 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 30 games started and 19 quality starts. The 28-year-old posted an unenviable 6-7 win/loss record in 29 games (24 started) this past season (4.76 ERA), marking a down-turn from his 2018 totals of 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 games started.
At the end of Spring Training, however, I expect Wacha to be in the pen, while Steven Matz becomes the Mets fifth starter come Opening Day.