Michael Wacha signed by Mets to fill void left by Zack Wheeler
In a way to help fill the void that Zack Wheeler left behind when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets are bringing in former St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha on a one-year deal, according to Mets beat writer Tim Healey. The former Redbirds pitcher has $3 million guaranteed on this deal, with the potential to reach $7 million through incentives.
MLB Insider Joel Sherman provided the financial aspects of the reported deal, which has not been confirmed yet by the Mets due to Wacha needing to pass a physical before the deal can become official.
Injuries have unfortunately plagued the right hander recently, as Wacha has experienced oblique, knee, and shoulder injuries ever since 2016. In 2019 specifically, a strained right shoulder affected Wacha last September, contributing to his down numbers.
Six victories against seven losses and a 4.76 ERA are not numbers to write home about, especially for a pitcher with the pedigree that Wacha has. However, with all of the injuries that he has had to deal with as of late, he was able to put together a decent-enough season before heading into free agency.
Joining the likes of Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz, Wacha will be called upon to help solidify the back-end of the Mets bullpen, as they look to try and become the alpha dog in the highly-competitive National League East division.
Pitching speaks the most in terms of winning baseball games, and while the loss of Wheeler will hurt this team at times, being able to bring in a veteran presence like Wacha will go a long way to trying to fill in some of the production vacated by Wheeler’s departure. While Wacha’s health will be the main determining factor for how he is able to help the Mets moving forward, for him to secure a decent deal on the open market speaks a lot about what the team expects out of him moving forward into 2020.
One year deals are great for pitchers in the same position as Wacha, providing him a deal that can ultimately increase his value tenfold if he were to put together a stellar campaign. While the odds of Wacha finding the well of youthfulness and going back to being the pitcher that he was from 2013 to 2015 are anything but high, a change of scenery and a superb starting rotation ahead of him could help take some of the pressure off of his shoulders and help him just settle in and try to rediscover himself and his arm.
For the Mets, their cheap, one-year gamble on a former stud of a starting pitcher falls into the category of a smart move that the Mets are not known for making. With general manager Brodie van Wagenen running this team now, his shrewd mindset when it comes to making moves is still out to be voted on, as a move like this can easily help offset the move that he decided to make last offseason when he went out and acquired Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano for a package that was highlighted by big-time prospect and recent draftee Jared Kelenic.