Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

It’s bad enough that the Red Sox let Xander Bogaerts get away, but the now-former Boston shortstop is also adding insult to injury by luring a teammate out to San Diego.

Although the Sox didn’t seem particularly interested in re-signing right-handed starter Michael Wacha, it’s got to be annoying for Boston fans to watch him sign with the Padres, and later admit he signed with a little help from Bogaerts.

  • “[Bogaerts was] another guy that reached out [in free agency] as well. Bogey is the man,” Wacha said, when asked about his experience playing with Bogaerts in Boston. “It was a lot of fun getting to know him last year, seeing him go about his business every day. He’s the guy that’s in the weight room, he’s preparing the right way, to go out there and play 162. He’s an absolute stud. Great pickup for the Pads.”

    It doesn’t feel totally accurate to suggest that Bogaerts convinced Wacha to choose the Padres over the Red Sox, because if Chaim Bloom wanted to sign the veteran righty, you’d think he would have at least shown a bit of interest at some point in his free agency.

    Instead, it feels more like Bloom chose to let Wacha walk. The 32-year-old eventually signed a four-year, $26 million deal with the Padres – yes, that’s $26M total, $6.5M per season.

  • Aug 26, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 26, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

  • Ostensibly, Bloom (and, even more so, ownership) did not want to commit long-term to a pitcher on the wrong side of 30. They’ve done that in recent years and regretted it, and since kept the 30-somethings to mostly one-year deals. An understandable approach.

    However, the key difference with Wacha is that he worked. The signing was a success, a good fit. He delivered his best season in four years, posting a 3.32 ERA with an 11-2 record in 23 starts. He did miss more than six weeks with shoulder inflammation, but by recent Red Sox standards, that’s a beacon of health.

    Bloom is overconfident if he thinks he can easily go out and replicate that with another reclamation project or scrap-heap dig. But perhaps lightning strikes twice with the signing of Corey Kluber, who stayed healthy for the first time in four years in 2022 with the Rays. Next step is to return to something closer to his prime form from 2013-18, during which he went 94-50 with a 2.96 ERA and won two Cy Young Awards in 2014 and 2017.

  • CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 08: Corey Kluber #28 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch in the thirteenth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game two of the Wild Card Series at Progressive Field on October 08, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

    CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 08: Corey Kluber #28 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch in the thirteenth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game two of the Wild Card Series at Progressive Field on October 08, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

  • Circling back to Wacha … his departure for the Padres is, more than anything, a sign of where the Red Sox are at right now. As of Tuesday, San Diego has the sixth-best odds to win the 2023 World Series at +1000. Boston? Nineteenth-best odds, +6000. If the Red Sox were truly thinking “World Series” in 2023, first they’d be insane, but second Wacha would be more inclined to stay.

    In the end, it wasn’t a hard decision for Bogaerts to recruit him to a true contender.

  • Click here for complete Boston Red Sox coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    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. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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