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Mets Signing Michael Wacha A Waste

When you’re operating on an austerity budget like the Mets are, you can’t afford to just throw away or gamble with their money. Cheap for its own sake is not going to fly. No, the team needs to be shrewd and deliberate.

Signing Michael Wacha was neither of those things.

Many will note it’s just $3 million guaranteed, but that loses the point. As noted by Tim Britton of The Athletic, Wacha can earn an additional $7 million in incentives. As such, with the way the Mets operate their team, for budget purposes, they’re likely going to treat Wacha as a $10 million player leaving them with only $3 million to spend this offseason.

That’s $3 million to build a bullpen, add depth, and get insurance for Wacha’s spot in the rotation. They need that insurance because Wacha missed the postseason with a shoulder injury. It was the second time in four years his season ended due to a shoulder injury.

The shoulder issues are just part of the problem. The larger problem is Wacha shouldn’t be relied upon on as a team’s fifth starter. He’s not striking many out, and when you dig deeper, he has an unacceptably poor 1.97 K/BB.

Turning the attention to Baseball Savant, Wacha doesn’t have Major League quality stuff anymore. His fastball velocity and spin are poor. The spin on his curve is poor as well.

About the only pitch he really effectively executes is his change. To the effect, it’s been quite effective with batters only hitting .199 off of it. The problem is batters hit all of his other pitches well.

The end result was Wacha making 24 starts and five relief appearances going 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, and a 7.4 K/9. Notably, over his last 10 starts of the season, Wacha only lasted five innings three times, and he didn’t pitch at least four innings three times. Due to his shoulder injuries, he would also be left off the postseason roster.

Overall, Wacha between his injuries, stuff, and really, just his ability was not deserving of anything more than a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Wacha was the guy who needed to prove he could be healthy. For that matter, he needed to prove he was a Major League caliber starting pitcher again.

Instead, Brodie Van Wagenen gave the CAA client a guaranteed deal worth $3 million with the potential of an additional $7 million in incentives. This makes little sense for an injured pitcher with little to no upside, and that is before you consider how he’d be negatively impacted by the Mets defense or Wilson Ramos behind the plate.

At the moment, Wacha is in a boat with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as all three are preparing to be starters with them each likely being in the bullpen to start the year. That was made all the more certain with Rick Porcello signing, which as previously explained, is not set-up for success with the Mets.

Right now, there are so many possibilities including these two signings paving the way for a trade of Noah Syndergaard or another starter. No matter what, the Mets appear to be relying upon Wacha in some fashion for 2020. Given his injuries and where his talent is now, this is really just a waste of money.

19 thoughts on “Mets Signing Michael Wacha A Waste”

  1. oldbackstop says:

    It would appear you wrote this and then threw a sentence in at the end when they signed Porcello.

    Otherwise it makes no sense.

    Wacha was 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 2018. I assume you don’t know that, because only an imbecile could leave it out of an analysis.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Why would I include his 2018 stats prior to a season ending injury when his stuff and results did not reach those levels again in 2019?

      Also, I’d note he suffered yet another injury in 2019.

      If you want to throw around insults like imbecile, try not showing how ignorant you are.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        You pick and choose injuries as it benefits you. You say we should, without any need, commit an guaranteed extension to Nimmo, despite a bulging neck disc. Zack Wheeler first five years AWOL were no concern for you, and Porcello’s long streak of consecutive years of 160+ IP gets no acknowledgement other than we shouldn’t sign a groundball pitcher. Because, you know, your man Dom Smith has the OF sewed up.

        With their resources, I think Brodie played this well. He got a 30 year old workhorse on a one year deal, three years removed from a Cy Young. And he got a high ceiling guy with injury questions on an incentive contract.

        Yes, you think they should have signed Strasburg and Baumgarner and Cole.

        Let’s have the same debate as usual, just like your irrational hatred of Vargas….considering Brodie said Lugo and Gsellman will get time as starters in the spring, what teams have a better back of the rotation?

        You can’t pay five aces. The five slots are going to fall to the 120th to 150th best MLB starting pitchers. I’m very comfortable Porcello, Wacha, Lugo and Gsellman will combine to fill that.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          My line of demarcation with injuries is where players return from them and produce just like Nimmo and Wheeler did.

          Wacha hasn’t, but you don’t care because you’d rather insult than have an honest intellectual discussion, one which you increasingly prove you’re incapable of having.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    First off, Wacha is now merely insurance, and maybe the contract is even insured. Incentives don’t go toward the luxury tax, and you have no idea what the incentives are….maybe he gets $7 mil if he wins the Cy Young. Fine with me.

    Acknowledging your medical degrees, he has been throwing simulated games and will be subject to a physical by the Mets.

    This is peanuts. It is all upside. The guy is younger than Matz and has had tremendous success in stretches including an All Star appearance and a NLCS MVP.

    The headline of a Wacha analysis should be: “Why not? Whatever.”

  3. Bonbolito says:

    Wacha might not be such a bad idea after all. Part of the trouble the Mets have had for at least the last two seasons has been burning through the bullpen when the starting pitching struggled to make it past the fourth inning. Having another long guy besides Lugo and Gsellman for Beltrán to go to can’t hurt.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Why not just sign one of the good relievers available instead of just signing a bad injured pitcher?

      1. Bonbolito says:

        Financial limitations that you’ve cited in previous posts would keep them looking to do things on the cheap. I also believe that the Wilpons love catching lightning in a bottle. Their advisor, Omar Minaya, has some history of success at doing just that. The R.A.Dickey situation in particular was such a success that I think they’re hooked on the feeling of getting something from nothing. I can’t say that I blame them; it’s only natural. The problem with trying to catch lightning in a bottle is getting burned most of the time, which the Wilpons also have a history with.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I do think you raise a very fair point with Omar being very adept at identifying players who could be had on the cheap and getting huge performances out of them.

    2. Oldbackstop says:

      Why was it such a Clever Idea to extend Nimmo now for years due to an “injury discount” but a bad idea to sign Wacha to a one year deal when it is the same situation?

      Wacha was rehabbing on the fly last year as the Cards made a run. Had you googled you would have seen their management was psychotic about overusing him, and they were also trickling him out of the pen. Instead you cite a bunch of stats about how he didn’t make six innings.

      The guy has one of the Top Ten change ups in the game. Give him a chance for a lousy three mil.

      If they were settling on Wacha, I’d be concerned. But combining him with Porcello….why not? Can we get a five hole first half of 6-5 with a 3.96 ERA as a starter out of the five hole, like we did with Vargas last year? If so, that is all you can ask.

      1. metsdaddy says:

        Nimmo came back and played at the level he played at prior to the injury, as a result, leverage any fear or concerns he may have to get a team friendly extension.

        Wacha has not been the same pitcher he has been since his first shoulder injury, and he did not return to form after his 2018 oblique injury.

        He then compounded a bad 2019 by suffering yet another shoulder injury.

        Seriously, when you break it down, Nimmo has performed, and Wacha hasn’t. I really don’t get how anyone can miss that.

  4. Oldbackstop says:

    Sigh, ok, let’s talk about Nimmo’s 2019, since you seem to have watched a different year. He got injured, he says although it was an unremarkable play, in Atlanta in April. At that point he was 6 for 50, BA .150

    He was gone for four months.

    He came back Sept .1. The Mets were all slaughtering the ball in September, maybe it was all the Marlins games. Nimmo batted .261 in 69 ABs in September to finish the year at .221. He had a three hit game at the friendly confines of Colorado, or his numbers would have been very mediocre.

    The Mets were all killing in September. To pick one example, which I know you will enjoy, JD Davis got the same amount of ABs in September as Nimmo (well, 69 to 70). You’ll recall you spent all summer you were predicting JD would crash — he was impossibly lucky, you said. In September JD slashed .357/.392/.614/1.006.

    Perhaps if Nimmo had stayed on the DL and JD got his playing time in left, we would have won the WC?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’m waiting for the rimshot for what was a really bad joke.

  5. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Wacha’s not a bad signing at the price in a vacuum, but lacking a 5th starter, his signing meant the Mets went out and got themselves a #7 starter when they lacked not just a 5th starter, but a 6th starter. Then they backed up and got Porcello, a player in obvious decline, who has a very good chance of being worth very little in 2020. Between them Wacha and Porcello were worth a paltry 1.3 bWAR in 2019, combined for an ERA and a FIP over 5.00, and there’s more reason to believe they’ll get worse than get better.

    All told the Mets spent $13m to $20m just on at best #6-type starters, when Cole Hamels got 1/18m. Or when Craig Morton last offseason got 2/30m. Add in the largely pointless signing of Marisnick and the Mets frittered away $17-24m on players who won’t be driving them towards the postseason.

    This is their tendency. Instead of getting a premium player–which you can obviously get if you’re willing to spend in the $17m-24m range and which would have kept Wheeler in the rotation had the Mets made a move any time between the end of the 2018 and 2019 seasons–and trusting to judgment wrt to finding in the minors or foreign leagues 5th OFers who can handle CF, they piddled away what turned out to be a goodly amount of money on filler.

    The Mets did the same thing in the 2017-2018 offseason, when instead of getting an All-Star level starting pitcher, they didn’t realize what they had in Nimmo and spent 13m AAV on Bruce, and 9m AAV on Vargas. They did the same in the 2018-2019 offseason when they picked up Ramos and Lowrie for more than Grandal’s AAV.

    In short, had they spent the money they’ve largely set on fire this offseason on Wheeler, they’d have the recipe that has won more than a few World Series: a decent offense, around average with 3 strong hitters and 3 decent ones, and the best rotation in the game now that Cole has gone to the Yankees: deGrom, Syndergard, Wheeler, Stroman, Matz. That has a very respectable chance of getting them to the postseason. This team, though, with only 3 pitchers with much chance of posting even a league average ERA? It has a respectable chance at 84 wins.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Wacha is not a bad signing if you’re the Tigers, who are looking for reclamation projects to flip, or the Yankees, for whom $3 million is a rounding error.

      For a team who doesn’t understand the concept of a sunk cost and has very limited resources, this was just a bad decision.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        Another drawback to all this, given the Wilpons don’t understand sunk costs and play players according to salary, is that Porcello will be given more chances to fail than Wacha and probably Matz. My other guess is that Wacha will start the season in the pen, even if Matz’s stuff is more suited to short stints. Wacha in the pen makes it less likely his incentives will kick in.

        Hey, does this mean Matz is getting moved? It shouldn’t. He’s not making real money, yet, and the chance of Porcello + Wacha pitching fewer than 250 innings has to be pretty good. Still, there’s no way payroll is going to sit at 205m. Will they package Matz (and a minor leaguer if necessary) with Familia and Lowrie to get out from under?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Matz turned a corner when he moved to the middle of the mound. Seeing him pitch to close out the season, I wouldn’t have his ceiling as low as you have it.

  6. Oldbackstop says:

    Oh Expert Analyst, should not the 2019 payroll be at your fingertips?????

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Answer is 19th

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