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Mets “Freezing Cold Takes” that did not turn out as planned

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets is walked to the dugout after being injured on a play in left field during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on June 15, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 15: Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets is walked to the dugout after being injured on a play in left field during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field on June 15, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 28: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Michael Wacha #45 of the New York Mets in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2020 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Yankees 6-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Michael Wacha would be a dark horse linchpin of the 2020 Mets rotation

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I was completely sucked in by Michael Wacha’s outstanding intrasquad start in the “summer camp” baseball restart of 2020. Perhaps I was just so starved for live baseball that any quality pitching performance at all would have completely wooed me. Either way, his solid outing against his own Mets teammates had me convinced that he was on his way to an excellent shortened season. I even chatted about this exact prediction with Mets beat writer Justin Toscano back in July of 2020.

Alas, this prediction did not come true. Wacha got injured almost immediately after the season began and made only seven starts in a Mets uniform. In those outings, he pitched to a 6.62 ERA and a 1.559 WHIP while averaging just 4.29 innings per start. The Mets’ starting pitching ERA in 2020 was an abysmal 5.37, and Wacha’s underachievement played a significant role in that disappointing outcome.

Wacha never quite found his footing in a Mets uniform and always seemed on the verge of disaster whenever he took the mound to start a game. He was a shell of the pitcher who broke out with an outstanding rookie season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 and was the 2013 National League Championship Series MVP.

Wacha’s Mets career, for the moment, lasted only one season. He is looking to revitalize his career in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Rays, who have a history of signing under-the-radar pitchers and doing exactly that. I wish him well.

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