The Baltimore Orioles might possibly be about to do something! Michael Wacha, perhaps?
The O’s are reportedly expressing interest in free agent SP Michael Wacha. The 31 year old righty isn’t nearly as flashy a signing as Carlos Rodon or even Nathan Eovaldi, but comes with some positives. Wacha finished a maiden season with the Boston Red Sox with a 3.32 ERA that would’ve been the third lowest among Orioles starters, trailing Austin Voth and Dean Kremer. His 4.14 FIP suggests there was some luck involved, but Wacha still would have been an effective back end rotation piece had his actual ERA been closer to that mark. Wacha is a relative soft tosser when it comes to fastball velocity and batters tend to tee off on him when he throws it, but three other plus pitches including a devastating changeup compensate for the lack of a premium fastball.
Rumor: Baltimore Orioles interested in free agent starting pitcher Michael Wacha
The main downside with Michael Wacha is injuries, as it has been throughout most of a career that got off to an incredibly impressive start with the St. Louis Cardinals. He has had a lengthy battle with shoulder injuries that have limited his ability to contribute – since 2017, Wacha has averaged 115 innings per season (excluding 2020) and hasn’t eclipsed 150 innings pitched since 2017. Given the Orioles need for dependable pitching, is committing to Wacha the most prudent choice given his history?
Michael Wacha is projected to receive a contract averaging roughly $12 million per year, which is a reasonable for him given the market. He would likely be an upgrade to the rotation and allow Austin Voth and/or Spenser Watkins to move to long relief roles that may suit their skillsets better. However, the Baltimore Orioles may be better served pursuing another free agent such as Eovaldi or dabbling in the trade market for a cost-controlled arm with less injury risk.