Former Red Sox right-hander Michael Wacha agrees to deal with Padres, per report

Former Red Sox starter Michael Wacha has agreed to a deal with the Padres, as was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

According to the Associated Press, the contract, which is still pending a physical, is believed to be for multiple years and similar in structure to the three-year deal San Diego gave fellow right-hander Nick Martinez back in November.

Rosenthal further reports that Wacha could earn more than $24 million over four years with the Padres. The deal includes player and team options and its structure lowers the average annual value for luxury tax purposes.

Wacha, 31, is now slated to join his fifth team in the last five years after originally signing a one-year, $7 million pact with Boston at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign. The former 2012 first-round draft pick out of Texas A&M first broke in with the Cardinals in 2013 and has also pitched for the Mets and Rays.

In 23 starts for the Red Sox last season, Wacha posted a 3.32 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 104 strikeouts to 31 walks over 127 1/3 innings of work. While the veteran hurler put up solid surface-level numbers, he produced a less-than-desirable 4.14 FIP and 20.2 percent strikeout rate. The righty also ranked in the 27th percentile of all big-league pitchers in expected batting average (.254), the 13th percentile in expected slugging percentage (.446), the 14th percentile in barrel rate (9.6 percent), and the 12th percentile in whiff rate (20.7 percent), per Baseball Savant.

Though Wacha led all Red Sox pitchers in Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement metric (3.3 bWAR) in 2022, he did miss time with injuries. From May 5-20 he was sidelined with left intercostal irritation. From July 5-August 14, he was sidelined with right shoulder inflammation.

Taking those factors into consideration, it does not appear as though the Red Sox made a strong effort to bring Wacha back in free agency despite publicly expressing interest in a reunion. With other starters such as Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Corey Kluber, Brayan Bello, Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, and Tanner Houck already on the roster, Wacha would have only added to Boston’s starting pitching surplus.

In agreeing to a deal with the Padres, Wacha will join a rotation mix in San Diego that includes the likes of Martinez, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, Seth Lugo, and Adrian Morejon, among others.

Wacha, who turns 32 in July, is the second member of the 2022 Red Sox to leave Boston for San Diego as a free agent this winter. Back in December, as you may recall, Xander Bogaerts inked a monstrous 11-year, $280 million contract with the Friars.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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