The New York Mets are about to secure the services of a starting pitcher. Several outlets reported on Wednesday that right-hander Michael Wacha will sign a one-year deal to pitch in Flushing.
Jon Heyman reported that Wacha will make $3 million guaranteed, with the chance to take the number to $10 million through incentives.
Buster Olney of ESPN stated that the righty needs to take a physical before any deal can be announced. The truth is that his signing is around the corner.
The Mets currently boast a formidable top four in the rotation. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz will take the ball every fifth day, and Wacha will presumably be the fifth starter unless Brodie Van Wagenen, the General Manager, makes additional moves, which is entirely possible.
What does he bring to the table for the New York Mets?
It certainly seems like Wacha has been around forever, but he is still 28 years old. In his rookie year, he was named the National League Championship Series’ MVP. That happened in 2013.
Five years later, injuries have taken a toll on him and his right arm isn’t quite the same. However, he can still contribute to a Major League rotation.
If anything, he will bring playoff pedigree to a Mets team that can certainly use it. His 2019 season ended on a sour note with a right shoulder strain, and he finished with a 4.76 ERA, 104/55 K/BB ratio and 1.56 WHIP in 126 2/3 innings for St. Louis Cardinals.
Let’s not forget, however, that he was quite effective in limited action in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
In 2018, he started 15 games with the Cardinals and posted a 3.20 ERA (4.22 FIP) in 84.1 frames. The 2017 season was much better: he managed to throw 165.2 innings in 30 starts, with a 4.13 ERA (3.63 FIP) and 8.58 K/9. That year, he accrued a very good 3.1 fWAR. The Mets sure can use that.
The 2016 season was a down year that saw him register a 5.09 ERA, but with a decent 3.91 FIP. However, he was good in 2014 (3.20 ERA) and 2015 (3.38 ERA.)
Health and opportunity
Wacha is certainly capable of registering a sub-4.00 season with the New York Mets, but it will all depend on health and opportunity. The most likely scenario is that the team signs another hurler or two to compete with Wacha for the fifth starter job, but he is more than capable of coming out on top.
If his right arm treats him well, the Mets may have found a bargain. But keep in mind that over the years, Wacha has missed time with right shoulder issues, oblique strains, and knee tendinitis, among other ailments.
The bottom line is that while he has had his fair share of injuries, it’s not fair to dismiss him as a devaluated asset while being only 28 years old. There is talent in his arm, and the New York Mets are betting on that talent.