St. Louis Cardinals: Does it make sense to trade Michael Wacha?
By Jason Martin
Michael Wacha has been one of the best starting pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals, but with young players on the rise, is it time to entertain a trade?
There is no denying that Michael Wacha has all the talent in the world to be a top-two starter for the St. Louis Cardinals. However, due to his injury history and the young talent rising quickly through the system, it may not be the worst idea to cash in on his value via trade.
Wacha has spent his entire six-year career with the Cardinals after being drafted in the first round back in 2012. He was an All-Star back in 2015, but since then, he has been on a slow decline.
It seemed like the 27-year-old was having a career year last season, but that was before being shut down for the majority of the second half with another injury. Wacha started 15 games for the Cardinals last season and went 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA, striking out 71 in 84.1 innings.
Wacha will be a free agent after this season, and he is making a solid $6.6 million this year.
His contract would not be hard to move and still could have some good value on the trade block.
I would imagine that teams would wait to see if Wacha is healthy being inquiring about him, but if he comes out of the gate healthy and playing well, then the Cardinals could look to move him.
After the addition of Paul Goldschmidt, the St. Louis Cardinals are once again set on competing not only for a playoff spot, but for a division title. If St. Louis is at the top of the standings in July, then odds are the Cardinals would not want to move him.
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However, if things don’t work out next year for the Cardinals, and they are once again a mediocre team, then Wacha would be a prime candidate to be moved.
The Cardinals do have the depth to replace a talent like Wacha. The St. Louis Cardinals pitching factory in the minor leagues seemingly always turn out arm after arm that eventually contributes at the major league level.
Guys like Alex Reyes, Dakota Hudson, Austin Gomber or even Jordan Hicks could easily slide into the starting rotation to take the spot of Wacha and stepped up last season in that capacity.
The Cardinals in the past have not been afraid to give young starters a chance to prove themselves at the highest level of competition the game has to offer. Their ability to develop young pitching is rivaled by no one in the majors, and with all of the talent the Cardinals have growing in the farm system, St. Louis would not miss a beat.
I think it is unlikely that the Cardinals offer Wacha an extension before the season runs out and I would be in favor of keeping him. However, if the Cardinals are middling in the National League and the right suitor emerges, St. Louis has enough depth to endure the loss of a top line starter.