The Mets started Michael Wacha Wednesday night. In a related story, the Mets lost Wednesday night, 8-5.

In the past we could lay the blame of who the day’s starting pitcher was squarely at the feet of the manager. These days – who knows? Whoever made this decision, made it knowing the following information: In his last five starts, Wacha’s combined line was 19 IP, 30 H, 20 R, 19 ER, 5 HR, 9.00 ERA.

He was banished to the bullpen but somehow, one solid relief appearance washed away five lousy starts and we were subjected to another Wacha start. He wasn’t as awful as he has been but he allowed 4 ER in 6 IP and took the loss

If Luis Rojas made this decision, it was a terrible one and he should answer for it.
If Brodie Van Wagenen made this decision, it was a terrible one and he should answer for it.

Wacha is not going to be a New York Met in 2021. Let me rephrase that – if the Mets are run by competent individuals next year, Wacha will not be a New York Met in 2021. Why he was given a start over anyone who had a whiff of a hint of a long shot of a chance of being on next year’s team is simply inexplicable and inexcusable.

In terms of who should have gotten the start instead, here’s a diagram of preferences:

Erasmo Ramirez >> Corey Oswalt (they should have released Wacha instead of sending Oswalt to the alternate site) >>> bullpen game >>>>>>>>>> Wacha.

This is not personal. It’s my belief that Wacha is giving it everything he’s got and at no point in this season has he mailed it in or acted like he didn’t care. The decision to sign Wacha was fine. It was a low-cost move with upside. Not every move you make is going to work. The problem is when the move doesn’t work and you insist on forcing the issue. And that’s what the Mets are guilty of here.

We can accuse the Mets of being incompetent. But we cannot accuse them of being cheap. Wacha had incentive clauses in his contract, which according to Cot’s, awarded him $500,000 for “points” at certain intervals, starting at 15. Wacha earned a point for each start or relief appearance of three or more innings.

Coming into tonight, Wacha had appeared in seven games, each meeting the three-inning threshold. My understanding is that all incentive clauses were going to be pro-rated, meaning that each “point” would get multiplied by 2.7 to bring our 60-game season to a 162-game one. Assuming this is true, Wacha had 18.9 points and had reached three incentive thresholds, meaning he earned an additional $1.5 million dollars.

With Wednesday’s start, Wacha under this plan would have 21.6 points and will have met two additional incentive thresholds, meaning he earned $1 million from this start and $2.5 million overall in bonuses on top of his $3 million salary. Maybe the incentives are pro-rated, too. If that’s the case, he would have made $926,000 in incentives on top of his salary.

Regardless, Wacha’s Mets career ends with a 6.62 ERA. He allowed two gopher balls tonight, giving him 9 HR allowed in 34 IP. Batters had a 1.055 OPS against him coming into the game and since he gave up a double and two homers among his six hits, it won’t be much difference if somehow it comes down from that ugly number.

Hopefully the Mets career of whoever made the decision to start Wacha tonight ends soon, too.

11 comments on “Gut Reaction: Rays 8, Mets 5 (9/23/20)

  • TexasGusCC

    Wow Brian, a bit cruel? I really don’t care if Wacha started or not because the season is in the dumpster. If it was an attempt to show other future possible signees that the Mets are generous, then so be it. I’m wondering if Matz can be gotten a start. A good start would be a good springboard for the winter. After all, what will Peterson gain from starting? Maybe Matz can start Friday?

    As for the game, just hoping no one gets hurt and everyone gives a respectable effort.

    • Eraff

      They didn’t have much to choose from. A “Miracle run” would have required each of their pitchers to pitch at their “best”, according to the Back of their Baseball Cards. They sent Wacha out their “needing” him to be Really Good, and maybe not because they believed he could be.

      I’d like to see Matz exclusively in relief…every game, frankly. The entire world knows what he looks like as a Starter. The tease is over for me with Matz as a Starter. If They start him next year, he’s a 4/5…and that’s ok. There is no trade value to be earned or information to be gained by giving him a Start. A Few Relief appearances could shed some light on a forecast of what He might look like in a key Bullpen Role.

  • Mike W

    The emotion in the post surely came out. As always, Brian backed it up by fact. This year was done in by the number four and five starters. It really would have been fun to have gotten into the playoffs this year, even as a number eight. In a three game series, we would have had a decent chance to knock them off with deGrom and Lugo and get to the divisional round. But, as usual, we are lamenting another lost Mets season. As always Brian, thank you for outstanding interesting fun articles.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: It is a official, this team is a losing team having lost their 31st game. No matter what management says, they weren’t a playoff team let alone a winning team.
    This team needs to assess their priorities. The front office needs a reality check. Case in point: Wacha should not be in their plans therefore he should not have started.
    Brian’s gut reaction is fair and well written.

  • TexasGusCC

    To clarify my comment which was disagreed with here and called stupid elsewhere, my point was that BVW is still the GM and may stay on when the dust settles. If he is in a position of trying to persuade the a pitcher looking to build value after an injury to take a shot with the Mets, – say Jose Quintana who will finish the year on the IL and be a free agent looking to build value – he will be able to use a baseless start like this as proof that a player gets a better chance on the Mets.

    Eraff, you’re right, we aren’t learning anything from a Matz start, but I thought maybe a kid like that could use it going into the winter because there isn’t anyone else to really learn about.

    My intent wasn’t to knock Brian’s reaction, but rather kid with him some while presenting a different mindset.

    • Brian Joura

      If you’re a free agent, what you care about is money and opportunity. No one can say that the Mets didn’t give Wacha an opportunity. If you’re a free agent who’s worried about how a team will treat you after you’ve displayed no MLB aptitude – maybe it’s time to retire.

  • Smackattack

    Before the season began who could have thought that we’d be in a must win game with an already lousy record playing against a team of nobodies who took us to school on defensive ingenuity, running the bases, outstanding pitching, and clutch hitting? I’m a Rays fan in the playoffs and I hope they knock out a big money team or two. As for out Mets, dump Matz and Familia. Figure out why Pete still swings at 55 foot curve balls in the dirt and somebody tell Rojas it’s allowed in the MLB to give Rosario, Nimmo, and Giminex a freakin’ steal sign! Pity for Jake, for Jeff and for Dom. I love Michael but how is that I always see him strike out when we need a big hit? And please do not tell me our boys will sweep the Nats because they probably will. That would be a fitting end to yet another year of hopeless expectation.

  • Eraff

    The best thing about Alonzo’s season has been that it’s been short…a concise boot in the Ass that should provide him with “information that He Lost” between his amazing Rookie year and this year. He went from being a Guy with Natural Home Run Power to being a Guy who was Trying to Hit Home Runs on every pitch. This is going to serve him well.

    The Mets have Two ” Girls with Curls”, Conforto and Matz. I beliedve Conforto is a Higher level producer, but they both frustrate with what we think we see…awesome superstar talent. That’s an unfair Burden. For Matz, we need to recognize his innate limitations and funnel his talent where he might more easily access it—I’d love to find a star reliever in that Mess of a Starting Pitcher! Give me a 3 MPH bump, and Pick Just One Other Pitch…and master it. How about a Back Foot Slider?

    Conforto has a very Modern Hitting Problem—-brought to us through Bulk analystics. There is a very big hole in the recognition that baseball offense is highly situational, and almost entirely dependent upon sequences—and those sequences can be altered with awareness of the game situation. This is also known as “Sometimes a Single will Do!”…and “Sometimes a Walk will Do”…etc.

    Let’s F’ing Go Steve Cohen!!!!!!!

    • Smackattack

      You put the barrel to the ball with “situational” baseball and if another record need be kept, how many times have the Mets struck out on balls that were clearly ball fours with runners on base? That’s on Rojas who let them swing from their heels rather like Pete who tries to hit the moon with every at bat. It will be interesting if Luis gets a pass on his first year and gets another chance after what was another Mets flop. Makes me dream of the Terry Collins years! Rojas also seems to wait one batter too long before changing pitchers and God knows there were times he waited too long to even get a bullpen arm loose. We stink at Citifield too with or without real fans in the seats and I think I heard a couple of the cardboards boo after the last out last night!

      • Bob P

        You can question many things Rojas has done but to say that hitters swinging at bad pitches is on him? That’s a stretch.

  • Bob S

    My final thoughts for 2020 – The Mets signed Wacha and Porcello for $15M plus – out of that we got 2 wins (2). We gave Cespedes 10 M to hit a couple HRs and then go home to his ranch. We gave up prospects for Frazier, Jurado (?), Hamilton. We are probably going to lose Stroman because he realized his best route to millions next year was to save his arm during this shortened season. Matz needs to go to the bullpen and get his act together. Ramos needs to hang up his cleats and glove – he is terrible. We could have played some of our catching prospects during the shortened season. We could have taken the money we lost and resigned Wheeler long term. He has won twice as many games as Porcello and Wacha combined. We need to dump the GM and open up the bank to get players OR we need to follow the San Diego, Chicago White Sox, Miami model and start rebuilding. As a 50 year Met fan I will again wait for the “rebuild”. Note: The best thing to come out of this season is a farewell to the Wilpons.

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