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Despite Subpar 2020, Michael Wacha is highly sought-after free agent

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Last year, Michael Wacha signed a one-year deal with the Mets worth $3 million. The move didn’t pay off for the Mets, as Wacha went 1-4 with a 6.62 ERA in eight games. Despite the sub-par results, ESPN’s Buster Onley indicates that Wacha is one of the most sought-after free agent pitchers.

Michael Wacha also struggled in 2019 when he posted a 4.76 ERA and 26 home runs allowed in 126 2/3 innings. In addition, he has had recurring shoulder issues which could explain the up and down results during his career.  One reason why the MLB teams could be eyeing Wacha is the fact that most teams are in cost-cutting mode and Wacha will likely seek only a one-year contract.

Despite the poor performance, Wacha’s velocity appears to be up a bit since 2019, which is in indication that his arm is strong, which teams hope will correlate into better results on the mound. However, Wacha’s fastball is still coming in nearly 1.5 mph less than in 2017, the last season he’s reached double-digits in wins.

It’s difficult to determine if Wacha’s 2020 season results is an indication for what is to come in 2021. After all, an eight-game sample is hardly significant. Despite being hit hard, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was stellar and Wacha is still in his prime years.  The problem is that Wacha has been woefully inconsistent.   In 2015, 2017 and 2018, Wacha combined to go 37-18 with an ERA of 3.63.  The rest of his career, he is a combined 24-26 with an ERA of 4.40.

One thing may be clear. Should Wacha sign for a one-year contract and perform well, he could enter the 2021 off-season in a prime position to land a substantial contract. At age 30, that contract could secure Wacha for the rest of his career. The question is, where will Wacha land this season and can he turn things around, perhaps even to the point of helping a team contend for a title?

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