3) The Phillies should’ve signed Michael Wacha instead of Taijuan Walker
At 4-1 with a 4.06 ERA after 8 starts for the San Diego Padres, Michael Wacha isn’t having the kind of season where any Phillies fan should riot over letting him land elsewhere. Because Wacha didn’t sign until February 16, he remains a name the Phillies and many other teams could’ve taken a late offseason stab at trying to get.
His contract is a strange one. After the $7.5 million this year, there is a $16 million team option for 2024 and a $6.5 million player option as well. It’s similar in 2025 with the player option dropping by a half-million. There’s yet another player option for $6 million in 2026.
The chess match contract was something the Phillies could’ve conjured up to protect themselves. It boils down to the Padres giving Wacha very good money if he performs well and not quite as much if he doesn’t. Whether you like it or not, we can all appreciate the creativity by everyone who masterminded this deal.
Wacha wouldn’t be up there with Eovaldi or Bassitt in terms of what the Phillies need most. He could and still does have the capability of being a good enough number three or four starter. Given how badly Walker has pitched, the beating Ranger Suarez just took, and the absence of a fifth starter completely, Wacha is the kind of pitcher the Phillies should have probably inked in addition to the rest of their offseason moves.