Boston Red Sox

  • It’s been a disappointing season for the tumbling Red Sox, who sit at 62-66 and last place in the American League East entering Monday. But they’d be even worse if not for starter Michael Wacha, who has delivered a strong campaign – and apparently would like to stick around.

    As reported by Christopher Smith of MassLive, Wacha was asked if he’s “open to” re-signing with the Red Sox in 2023. Wacha replied, “Yes, most definitely. For sure, yeah.” That’s four different ways of saying yes, so that sounds good for the chances of a reunion.

    Wacha is on track to become a free agent after the 2022 season. Through his own performance on the mound, he’s become more expensive than the $7 million he’s making this year. Through 16 starts, Wacha has posted a 2.53 ERA, which would be a new career-high. He also has a 9-1 record, meaning the rest of the Red Sox’ pitching staff is a combined 53-65.

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  • Based on his other comments to Smith for MassLive, Wacha is trying his best to leave all options open for free agency. But he reiterated that he’d be happy staying in Boston.

    “I haven’t really thought about it like that,” Wacha told Smith. “There’s still a lot of games left to be played. And that is kind of stuff that I can’t really control right now. I try to leave that stuff for the offseason. But as far as how I’m liking Boston, I’m loving it here. The staff here is amazing. The players on this team have become really good friends of mine, and I just jell really nicely with them and get along with everyone. Just really good ballplayers and a good team.

    “I love it here. The fans are great. Getting to play in front of a packed stadium every night is something that should never get taken for granted. It’s a very cool place to play. Putting on this Red Sox uni is something I’ll always remember, for sure.”

  • Wacha’s happiness with the Red Sox is certainly reflected in his on-field performance. But it also signifies one big concern with re-signing him, which is the inevitably increased price tag. Will Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom pay up to retain an asset that worked out? Or will he move on and dig for the next hidden gem?

    Bloom hasn’t had enough successes in his three years leading Boston’s front office to just let go of a player that has succeeded, especially in the starting rotation. But we’ll believe he’s willing to keep Wacha around when we see it.

    Obviously, another worry with Wacha is whether he’d repeat his 2022 performance over the course of a longer-term deal. It’s possible that the 31-year-old has earned himself a multiyear contract with whomever signs him next.

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 06: Michael Wacha #52 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 06, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 06: Michael Wacha #52 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 06, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • But for a team that’s struggled in so many areas and has dealt with another injury-plagued season for Chris Sale, Wacha’s resurgence has been a welcome one – and something worth trying to keep. It sounds like Wacha is receptive to the idea.

    The Red Sox hit the road to Minnesota on Monday night to face the Twins. Brayan Bello (0-3, 7.36 ERA) starts for the Red Sox against Dylan Bundy (7-6, 4.56 ERA).

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.