Rays sign Michael Wacha
We’ve taken a couple days off from looking at moves around the league. We’ll call it a mental health break. As it turns out, though, nothing really happened! There has been but one real move through the weekend, and it goes back to Friday when the defending American League champs added to their rotation. The Rays brought in Michael Wacha on a one-year deal worth $3 million.
On the surface, this is a pretty forgettable addition. Although earlier in his career Wacha looked like one of the top young pitchers in the game, he hasn’t been able to stay that consistent over the last five years. Now 29, the righty is coming off a rough year with the Mets. He made seven starts plus one relief appearance on the year, pitching to a 6.62 ERA over 34 innings 37 strikeouts and seven walks. Prior to 2020, he had pitched to an ERA under 4.00 just once in the previous four seasons. There’s a reason he was available for only $3 million.
And yet, with all of that being said, this could very well be one of those moves that works out exceedingly well for the Rays and one that Red Sox fans look back and wonder why their favorite team didn’t make the move. For one, the peripherals from 2020 were outstanding. To put them into rate form, Wacha struck out nearly 10 batters per nine innings and walked just under two per nine. He did have a home run problem, to be fair. Additionally, he simplified his repertoire a bit, ditching his curveball and going with a three-pitch approach.
At the end of the day, this just feels like one of those moves that will work for the Rays but probably wouldn’t work with anyone else. Bitter and jealous? Me? Don’t be ridiculous.