Michael Wacha looked to be back to his old self in 2017… That is until an oblique strain effectively ended his season. He had begun his rehab program and even made 3 appearances throughout the minor leagues, but he kept experiencing discomfort in his left oblique. Wacha had been one of the more productive members of your staff up until his injury. He was 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA over 84.1 innings. If it hadn’t been for an outing late in his season vs the Cubs in which he gave up 8 ER in 4 innings, Wacha could have an ERA under 2.50. For a majority of the season he was neck and neck with Miles Mikolas for the best starter the Cardinals could throw out.
Per GM Michael Girsch, #STLCards are shutting Michael Wacha down for the season after he re-aggravated his oblique.
But last year doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s time to move on. And it’s time to get bold.
Michael Wacha is going to break 180 innings this season for the Cardinals.
Now, this is 100% a gut feeling on my part. I personally believe Wacha is going to be rehabbing more than ever before in an effort to stay healthy. He hasn’t reached 180 innings since his 2015 All-Star season. I know his injury history frustrates him just as much as it frustrates the fan-base. For the Cardinals to stay competitive, he needs to be at 100 percent. We don’t need another half season from Wacha. We need a full season. And I think he knows that.
Wacha is set to hit free agency after the 2019 season. If that isn’t motivation enough, I don’t know what is. If Wacha wants to reach free agency and get paid, he needs to stay healthy. Teams aren’t going to shell out money for a spot starter. Wacha has raw talent and ability… Wouldn’t it be great to see it for a full season?
The first half of last year gives me reason to believe that he is turning the corner in terms of his pitching ability. He had a couple rough years, but last year he looked really good. That, with his urgency to get and remain healthy is the reason I make this bold prediction. I think he puts it all together for a full season from a talent, health, and need perspective. Maybe he does it just to get a paycheck. Who knows, but as long as he helps the Cardinals win in 2019, does it matter why? 180 innings isn’t impossible. Just look at Miles Mikolas. In his first full year as a starter, he hits 200 innings.
I want Wacha to succeed in this organization. With the amount of arms coming up, I can’t imagine the Cardinals re-signing him in free agency next season. If this is his last season with the Cardinals I just hope that he can pitch well. Maybe this prediction is more about what I want to see as opposed to what is realistic, but maybe he proves us all wrong. 200 innings would be pretty nice too.
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