MINNEAPOLIS — Michael Wacha has taken a series of one-year contracts since playing seven years with the Cardinals. It wasn’t by choice.
“I’d prefer a multi-year deal but never really been offered one,” he said.
Wacha will be a free agent again after this season and should have a chance to put down some roots.
The 31-year-old righthander, who faces the Twins on Wednesday night, is 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 16 starts for the Red Sox.
“He’s solid. Not only [on the field] but inside the clubhouse,” manager Alex Cora said Tuesday before the Red Sox’ 10-5 loss to the Twins. “Taking to players in the dugout, he’s awesome. A positive presence.”
Outside of a shoulder strain that cost him roughly eight starts, Wacha has had a strong first season in Boston. He hopes that can continue.
“I’ve loved it here. The staff has been great. The clubhouse and the guys have been great, being around them and learning,” he said. “It’s been a very positive experience.
“I’d most definitely like to stay. I love the city; my family loves the city. Yeah, I can see myself staying here.”
Wacha was in the Cardinals organization for eight years in all. He’s been the new kid in school every year since.
“When you come into a new clubhouse it does take a little bit of time to feel comfortable,” Wacha said. “There’s a learning curve. But getting to know a bunch of different players and work with a bunch of different staff, they all bring something different to the table.”
Wacha had one-year deals with the Mets in 2020 ($3 million), the Rays in 2021 ($3 million), and now the Sox ($7 million). A strong finish to the season would position him to do better than that.
“I try not to think about stuff like that,” Wacha said. “Hopefully when the time comes, I’ll have a decision to make.”
The free agent class could be headlined by veteran stars Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander. DeGrom has said he plans to opt out of his deal with the Mets. Verlander has a $25 million player option for 2023 with the Astros.
Two cornerstones with their current teams, Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw and Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright, are at the end of their deals but are far more likely to stay in place or retire than jump to another team.
Another veteran, Charlie Morton, has made it clear he wants to stay close to his home in Florida. That would probably mean staying with the Braves or returning to the Rays.
That puts Wacha in a group that includes teammate Nate Eovaldi, Chris Bassitt, Mike Clevinger, Sonny Gray, Aaron Nola, Carlos Rodon, Noah Syndergaard, and Jameson Taillon.
Cora would welcome Wacha staying in Boston.
“It would be great,” he said. “I don’t mind managing Michael Wacha. We’ll see what the future holds.”
Setback for Houck
Continued back soreness kept Tanner Houck from throwing his scheduled session of live batting practice. He is now “on hold,” according to Cora.
Houck has been on the injured list since Aug. 6 with what the team described as “lower back inflammation,” but has since been revealed to be a disk issue.
This latest shutdown makes it less likely Houck pitches again this season. The righthander is 5-4 with a 3.15 ERA and eight saves in 32 appearances.
The news is better for Eovaldi, who has twice thrown off the mound as he recovers from a lat strain.
Kutter Crawford’s start Tuesday was the 33rd by a rookie for the Sox this season. That’s the most for the Sox since 2015 when they had 44. That team finished 78-84 . . . Bryan Mata had an inauspicious debut at Triple A Worcester. The 23-year-old righthander allowed one run on two hits over three innings against Buffalo at Polar Park. He walked four, struck out one, and threw 72 pitches (40 for strikes) . . . The Sox acquired 25-year-old reliever Taylor Broadway from the White Sox as the player to be named in the Aug. 1 deal that sent Jake Diekman to Chicago. Broadway, a sixth-round pick in 2021, has a 4.45 ERA in 52 appearances but has averaged 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He was assigned to Double A Portland . . . There were two scoring changes from recent Sox games. Rob Refsynder’s third-inning single at Baltimore Aug. 19 has been ruled a double because he was advancing before the throw to third. Also, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. lost an assist he was credited with against the Sox in the eighth inning last Thursday. Guerrero deflected a ball second baseman Santiago Espinal made a play on.