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:
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.