Xander Bogaerts reportedly lured Michael Wacha to Padres
Just when it looked like star shortstop Xander Bogaerts and the San Diego Padres were done spending money in the offseason, the club made one last addition that will beef up their starting rotation. Michael Wacha, fresh off a comeback season with the Boston Red Sox, signed a four-year deal with the Padres.
Wacha started off his tenure in St. Louis with some memorable postseason performances, but a poor final season destroyed his value. Attempts to get back on the right track with the Rays and Mets fizzled. In Boston, Wacha went 11-2 while posting a very impressive 3.32 ERA and a 127 ERA+.
Wacha could have gone to any one of multiple contenders. Still, the combination of San Diego's need in the starting rotation and the connection that he and Boagerts forged during the 2022 season helped swing him over to the Padres.
According to NESN, Wacha said that it was "a lot of fun getting to know" Bogaerts last year, and that familiarity played a factor in wooing Wacha over to San Diego. One of the benefits of signing big fish free agents is getting solid players like Wacha into the fold thanks to Bogaerts' star power.
Michael Wachia joined the Padres because of Xander Bogaerts.
Wacha will likely be the No. 4 starter in the rotation behind ace Yu Darvish, San Diego native Joe Musgrove, and former Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Wacha may not be the biggest innings-eater, but the guy we saw in Boston managed to throw strikes and consistently keep the ball in the park.
Wacha may not have the best fastball in the world, but his sharp curveball and effective changeup should help him generate weak contact in a pitcher's park. The fact that his ERA was low in a bandbox like Boston should get the team excited about how he performs at Petco Park.
Behind Wacha, there are some concerns and questions that need to be answered. World Baseball Classic pitcher Nick Martinez and former Mets relief pitcher Seth Lugo are competing for the final spot. However, there have been some loud rumblings that the Padres could use a six-man rotation featuring both Martinez and Lugo.
At his best, Wacha was a solid pitcher that played well in October. The Padres have a top-heavy lineup with enough star power to push them to succeed in the regular season, but the starting pitching must show up if they are to survive what has become an incredibly tough National League.