If the Dodgers were looking to add another starting pitcher on the free-agent market, the best one left is no longer available. Right-hander Michael Wacha signed a deal with the Padres, pending a physical.
Wacha was the top starter left on the market, but on MLB’s list of free agents sorted by WAR over the last two seasons, he was down at 21st, between Zack Greinke and Andrew Heaney. The top two free agent starters by that sorting are now Mike Minor (clearly worse than everyone currently in LA’s rotation) and Trevor Bauer (unlikely for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on). Everyone else after those two has combined for less than 1.0 WAR over the last two seasons.
Wacha is a solid addition for the Padres, who needed depth in their rotation more than a big star. He had a resurgence with Boston last year, posting a 3.32 ERA after combining for a 4.62 mark over his previous six seasons. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) only went from 4.37 in 2016-21 down to 4.14 last year, but if he can bump his strikeout rate back up while keeping his home run rate at its lower level, he could be sneaky good for San Diego.
Dodger fans will remember Wacha from the 2013 NLCS, which turned out to be the highlight of his career so far. Wacha threw 13.2 shutout innings against the Dodgers in that series to earn the NLCS MVP Award. He made his only All-Star team two years later, but it’s been all downhill since until last year.
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