Veteran starting pitcher Michael Wacha could provide a big boost to the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation via free agency
Michael Wacha is a name that should be well known to fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started his professional career with the St. Louis Cardinals, which included pitching a gem against the Pirates in Gmae 4 of the 2013 National League Division Series when the Pirates had a chance to clinch the series.
In his 11-year MLB career, Wacha has pitched for the New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres, in addition to his 7-year stint in St. Louis. Wacha has pitched in 249 games in his career with 228 being starts. He has pitched 1288.0 innings in his career, posting a 3.96 ERA and a 4.05 FIP.
2023 was Wacha's one season with the Padres. He pitched 134.1 innings in 24 starts with San Diego last season. Wacha posted a 3.22 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 7.8% walk rate, 22.4% strikeout rate, and a 2.4 WAR with the Padres. This was Wacha's best season since 2018, and best season in which he was healthy enough to make 20+ starts since 2017.
Health has often times been an issue in Wacha's career. He has spent time on the injured list in 7 of his 11 MLB seasons. Due to this, 2015 and 2017 are the only seasons of his career in which he has made at least 30 starts.
When he has been healthy, Wacha has been a very good starting pitcher in his career. A healthy Wacha would slide in behind Mitch Keller as the number two starting pitcher for the Pirates. He would undoubtedly be a huge boost to the Pirate starting rotation.
The 32-year-old Wacha could also be a good veteran presence in the clubhouse and especially with a young starting pitching staff. Wacha would also bring a lot of postseason experience to the team, having pitched 38 innings in 8 career postseason appearances, 6 of which were starts.
MLB Trade Rumors projects Wacha to land a three-year, $36 million contract this offseason. $12 million a year is something that the Pirates could easily afford to pay to Wacha, adding him to a multi-year contract would also be a boost to the team with their need for starting pitching. There is no reason Wacha shouldn't be a top target of the Pirates in free agency.