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The Rays are “deep” in talks with free-agent right-hander Michael Wacha, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The CAA client had a rough 2020 season with the Mets but has reportedly been a popular target among clubs seeking affordable rotation additions.

Wacha struggled through eight games with the Mets in the abbreviated 2020 season, pitching to a 6.62 ERA with a whopping nine home runs allowed in just 34 innings. His 2019 season was also rather lackluster campaign owing in no small part to knee and shoulder injuries — the latter of which has been a recurring issue throughout his career.

That said, Wacha also logged a very strong 37-to-7 K/BB ratio in those 34 frames while seeing marked upticks in swinging-strike rate and opponents’ chase rate. His 11.3 percent swinging-strike rate trails only his 11.4 percent mark from his rookie campaign back in 2013, and Wacha’s 34.3 percent chase rate on pitches outside the strike zone was far and away a career-high.

Wacha would be a sensible pickup for the Rays, who earlier this winter declined their $15MM club option on Charlie Morton. They’ll also be without three possible rotation options in 2021, as each of Yonny Chirinos (Tommy John surgery), Jalen Beeks (Tommy John surgery) and Brendan McKay (shoulder surgery) went under the knife in the past several months. Chirinos and Beeks won’t pitch in 2021. McKay’s timeline is still muddy. Prior indications have been that he’ll be delayed in ’21 but eventually be able to take the mound.

More to come.

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