Wacha chasing elusive WS ring with Padres

February 16th, 2023

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In , the Padres found the man to solidify their six-man rotation. Wacha is all in.

“I think it is a really good idea,” Wacha said at his introductory press conference on Thursday morning after his deal was made official.

“If you have the arms to be able to do it, I think it can work out well for guys to stay healthier throughout the year. Give guys a little bit of an extra break in between and let [them] recover a bit more. That extra day does go a long way as a starter. I think it definitely will have a positive impact on a lot of their pitchers. I guess time will tell.”

Wacha joined the Padres on a creative contract that guarantees him $26 million over four years and includes $16 million team options for 2024 and '25 that must be picked up simultaneously. There are also player options for 2024 at $6.5 million and 2025 and '26 at $6 million. The deal contains incentives of $500,000 for each plateau of 20 and 25 starts and $1 million for 30 starts.

“For now, where my head is at, this is the place I want to be for the next few years,” Wacha said. “Couldn’t be more excited.”

Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo are the other projected starters.

Wacha was a member of playoff teams in St. Louis from 2013-15, and he threw 13 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Dodgers twice and become the MVP of the Cardinals’ 2013 National League Championship Series victory.

That postseason experience and the multiyear deal worked in the Padres’ favor.

“I want to win,” Wacha said. “I want to have a chance to make a run in the postseason and win a championship, and that’s why I’m here. I want a ring, and I want to help bring a championship to San Diego. That’s what our expectations are. On paper, it’s one of the best teams that I’ve ever been a part of. With health and luck and the skill and competitiveness that we have on this team, I think some good things can happen.

“The whole league has kind of been put on notice about what is brewing down in San Diego. [General manager] A.J. [Preller] has been putting together a heck of a team. A lot of expectations, but that’s where we want to be. We want to have those expectations and go out there and get everyone’s best shot and know that we can come out on top.”