MLB Rumors: Michael Wacha finalizing deal with Red Sox

Report: Red Sox finalizing deal with pitcher Michael Wacha originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox have reportedly addressed a need for the back end of their starting rotation.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday that the team is finalizing a deal with righthanded pitcher Michael Wacha, who spent the 2021 season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wacha, 30, went 3-5 with a 5.05 earned run average over 29 appearances -- 23 starts -- for the Rays, including a 1-1 mark over six appearances (five starts) over the season's final month with a 3.00 ERA. He was shelled in his lone postseason for Tampa, however, giving up six earned runs on nine hits over 2 2/3 innings against Boston out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. 

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Red Sox fans may remember Wacha from a previous postseason, too. In 2013, the then-rookie sensation Wacha took the loss for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the World Series, getting pounded for six earned runs on five hits over 3 2/3 innings in a game Boston went on to win, 6-1, capturing the club's third championship of the century.

Wacha had been NLCS MVP for the Cardinals in the previous round against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After three strong seasons to begin his career in St. Louis, including an All-Star nod in 2015, Wacha struggled with injuries and consistency over the next four years before joining the New York Mets as a free agent in 2020. He struggled mightily during his one year in Queens, turning in a 1-4 record with a 6.62 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) during the pandemic-shortened season.

Following the departure of starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers, Wacha could slot into the No. 4 or 5 spot in Boston's rotation after Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta. Tanner Houck appears likely to have a chance at cracking the rotation, while Garrett Whitlock, the best reliever for the Red Sox in 2021, could get a look in a starter's role.

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