In Padres search for pitching, is Michael Wacha the answer?

Mandatory Credit: Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The San Diego Padres need starting pitching.

Currently, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Blake Snell will head the rotation, but beyond those three, there are question marks.

Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez, Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, Jay Groome, Brent Honeywell, Wilmer Font, and Julio Teheran are vying for the last two spots, and each comes with question marks attached to their names. Martinez is the most likely to contribute of this bunch, but some argue his real value is pitching out of the pen for San Diego.

The Padres are on a quest for a World Title and will should not just settle for pitching to fill its roster. They cannot afford to hand the ball to young pitchers like Morejon, Groome, and Weathers every fifth day. Especially if these young pitchers are learning on the job.

There is a need for a veteran presence, and Michael Wacha could be the answer.

Wacha is a 10-year veteran who owns a 4.05 ERA over 1,150 innings. The native of Iowa pitched for the Red Sox last season and was arguably their best pitcher for most of the season. He went 11-2 last season with a 127.1 ERA and a 1.115 WHIP in 23 starts, and 127 innings pitched. His numbers were skewed as Wacha was roughed up a bit in September and October, where he produced a 5.57 ERA and allowed 20 of the 47 earned runs he gave up on the year.

If he can pitch as he did for most of 2022, he would be very valuable to the Padres.

Wacha has had a history of shoulder problems and missed time in parts of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons. An injured oblique cost him time in 2018, but the pitcher has been relatively healthy since that time early in his career.

The free-agent market is getting pretty thin, and Wacha may be the best pitcher out there available. His cost will not break the bank for San Diego, as he signed a one-year, $7 million deal last season before the year and could make slightly more this season. That is not a huge cost considering what he is capable of providing.

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Wacha features a five-pitch mix. He mainly throws a four-seam fastball but will also throw a sinker, curve, cutter, and changeup. He is not overpowering with his fastball, which usually sits in the 92-95 mph range. Mechanically he is pretty solid and gets the most from his 6-foot-6 frame.

At 31, there may still be life in the right-handed pitcher’s arm.

The Padres and A.J. Preller will strengthen this unit sooner or later.

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