Friday, December 13, 2019

Mets Sign Veteran Starter Michael Wacha

Michael Wacha.

The Mets today announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha to a one-year deal. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Chris Mazza has been designated for assignment.

Wacha, 28, spent all seven of his major league seasons with St. Louis, and he has a 59-39 record with a 3.91 career ERA in 165 appearances (151 starts) over. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 2015, when he won a career-high 17 games for the Cardinals. He is one of just 14 NL pitchers with a winning percentage above .600 since 2013 (min. 60 decisions).

“With the addition of Michael to our staff, our rotation will continue to be an area of strength in 2020,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Adding a fourth All-Star starter with proven success in the postseason gives us a group of starting pitchers with the potential to be among the best in the game.”
Wacha went 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA last season, but he turned it on late in the season. In 13 second-half games (10 starts) last year, he had a 3.58 ERA (20 earned runs/50.1 innings) and made 29 appearances for the Cardinals last season, including 24 starts, going 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA (67 earned runs/126.2 innings).

In his career against the Mets’ four NL East rivals, Wacha owns a 3.52 ERA (49 earned runs/125.1 innings) in 21 career starts. His lone shutout came at Citi Field in a three-hitter on July 18, 2017.

FanGraphs ranks Wacha’s curveball as one of the 10 best in baseball over the last two years. His career home run rate of 1.01 HR/9 ranks 19th in the NL (min. 750 innings) since 2013. The Iowa City, Iowa native was one of just two starting pitchers with to post a HR/9 ratio under 1.00 every season from 2013-2018, joined by Gio Gonz├ílez.

As a rookie in 2013, Wacha was named the NLCS MVP after winning both of his starts, including the pennant-clinching Game 6, vs. the Dodgers. He did not allow a run in 13.2 innings in the 2013 NLCS, facing off against Clayton Kershaw in each game. That fall, he became the third rookie to record at least four wins in a single postseason and established a rookie record for strikeouts in a single postseason (33).

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