It looks like Michael Wacha is Mets' Zack Wheeler replacement

It looks like Michael Wacha is Mets' Zack Wheeler replacement

Mets

It looks like Michael Wacha is Mets' Zack Wheeler replacement

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While the New York Yankees blew up the baseball world by signing Gerrit Cole to a nine year deal worth $324 million, the New York Mets found their replacement for Zack Wheeler, and he cost 108 times less. The Mets have signed former St. Louis Cardinals’ righty Michael Wacha to a one year deal worth $3 million guaranteed, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

Wacha made 24 starts and five relief appearances for the Cardinals in 2019, and he went 6-7 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP, striking out 104 batters in 126.2 innings pitched. Injuries have been a constant issue for Wacha, who has made 30 starts only twice in his seven year career. There is plenty of upside with Wacha, however, who pitched to a 3.20 ERA as recently as 2018 and was 1-3 with a 3.58 ERA for the Cardinals after the All Star Break a year ago.

Sep 25, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This is a typical low-risk, high-reward deal for the Mets, but that isn’t a bad thing. Tanner Roark, who was rumored to be a Mets’ target, received two years and $24 million from the Toronto Blue Jays, which is a lot of money for an innings eater. Wacha doesn’t have as safe a floor as Roark in terms of the ability to take the ball every fifth day, but he does have a much higher upside.

The Mets would be well advised to add more depth starters to the mix, but it sounds like Wacha will be their big offseason pickup as the team is planning to have Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo prepare for the year as if they will be starting. That is all well and good if the Mets reinforce the bullpen with big arms, but so far all they have done on that front is re-sign Brad Brach and bring in Chasen Shreve on a minor league deal. The Mets are also active in trade talks for Starling Marte, but that kind of move may require either moving Brandon Nimmo and/or clearing Jed Lowrie’s contract to create room under the luxury tax.

This is a big problem for the Mets, who have been adding on the fringes while the other teams in their division are getting much better. Hopefully the eventual transition of ownership from the penny-pinching Wilpons to billionaire Steve Cohen changes this, but for now it feels like the Mets’ entire offseason is Michael Wacha’s and Jake Marisnick’s, which is a wasted opportunity considering the talent this organization already has on board.

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