Twins show interest in free agency rights Michael Wacha, according to Dan Hayes and Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic. At this point, there are no signs that negotiations between the parties are particularly serious, but should a deal finally come together, Wacha will give Minnesota a veteran arm and help stabilize the back of the rotation. increase.

Wacha, 31, posted a sharp 3.32 ERA in 127 and 1/3 innings in 2022 for the Red Sox, but his strikeout rate of less than 20.2% and a fastball averaging 93.2 mph are his previous career lows. was recorded. Wacha’s walk rate of 6.0% was excellent, but his in-play ball luck (.260 BABIP) and his career-best 80.3% strand rate (72.9% career-hit mark his mark) (outperformed by more than 7 percentage points in the On defense-independent metrics, Wacha was generally felt solid, but not quite as much as his baseline ERA (4.14 FIP, 4.07 SIERA) suggested.

But it was Wacha’s first productive season since the 2018 campaign. (741 innings, 3.77 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 4.07 SIERA). However, starting in 2019-21, Washa posted a 5.11 ERA in his 1/3 innings with 285, making a string of free agency runs while dealing with an unprecedented level of home run susceptibility. settled on his one-year contract. Wacha averaged 1.83 home runs per nine innings pitched from 2013-18, but from 2013-18, he gave up only 0.86 long balls per nine innings pitched.

The fit with the Twins is at least a little confusing, if only because of the number of comparable options Minnesota already has in its rotation. Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Murray, Kenta Maeda When bailey overwith depth options including prospects like Louis Verland, Josh Winder, Simeon Woods Richardson When Matt Cantellino (among others).

That being said, Gray, Mare, Maeda and Over have each dealt with injury issues in 2022. Gray went through multiple IL stints due to a hamstring strain. Mare has been on the disabled list twice with his shoulder injury. Over, meanwhile, missed about half the season with a sore groin. And, of course, Maeda won’t be pitching in 2022 as he’s recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2021. Given the lengthy layoffs and his 22-year total innings shortfall, Maeda will have his workload monitored in 2023.

Adding Washa to the fold provides injury insurance, but Washa itself has a long history of injuries. He has been on the injured reserve list four times with shoulder injuries during his 10-year MLB career, and last season alone he also missed more than a month. He was also sent to injured reserve by oblique and intercostal strains, patellar tendonitis in his left knee and a hamstring strain, most of which were overcome in a relatively short period of time, but the 2019 oblique strain and his 2014 shoulder stress reaction resulted in a 60-day stint at IL.

Signing Washa and other veteran starters would give the Twins another capable arm to help keep the starting staff together, but would make the front office even more daring to pursue upgrades in the trade market. Much of Minnesota’s offseason hinged on re-signing efforts. Carlos Correaand that ship probably technically hasn’t sailed yet — Correa and the Mets have yet to announce a deal while they address concerns about the infielder’s body — it’s clear he could return. Meanwhile, most of the game’s top free agents have signed elsewhere, leaving little choice to pursue now that the Twins have missed their top target.

Twins sign catcher Christian Vasquez Outfielder Joey Gallo, and therefore not fully dormant until this point in winter. Still, it needs more upgrades in various places on the roster. Just as a deal with Gallo seemed to create more potential to trade one of the organization’s many left-handed outfielders, the addition of the rotation included some of that pitching depth. It may lead to trading possibilities.

As far as salaries go, the Twins can virtually afford any free agent or trade target of their choice at this point. Byron BuxtonGray, Gallo, Vasquez, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Maeda are guaranteed $67.625 million combined for 2023, bringing Minnesota’s expected arbitration salaries to just under $32 million. The Twins aren’t particularly close to his $140 million or more spent on the 2022 payroll.

The Orioles had a generally quiet offseason when it came to Wacha, as they were the only team publicly associated with the veteran right-hander. But he was one of the few free agency starters to finish a solid season. Johnny Cueto, Zach Greinke When Zach Davis On that point. At this point, Wacha is probably the top free agent starter remaining based on a combination of age and track record, so it’s easy to imagine his market picking up momentum in the coming weeks.

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