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#pounditMonday, March 4, 2024

Padres send ex-All-Star pitcher to free agency by declining club option

A San Diego Padres hat resting on a glove

Aug 8, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A view of an official San Diego Padres New Era on field hat against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The first domino may be falling for the San Diego Padres roster.

Dennis Lin of The Athletic reported Saturday that the Padres have declined their two-year, $32 million club option on veteran righty Michael Wacha. The move clears the way for Wacha to become a free agent this winter.

The 32-year-old Wacha, an All-Star in 2015 as well as the NLCS MVP for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, was a very steady arm last season for San Diego. He went 14-4 with a 3.22 ERA and 124 strikeouts over 24 total starts. Wacha led the team’s rotation in winning percentage (.778) and also threw the most innings of his career since the 2017 season.

But we know that the Padres, in the midst of some financial difficulties, badly need to trim their payroll. On top of the final two years of Wacha’s contract now coming off the books, fellow pitchers Blake Snell, Josh Hader, and Seth Lugo (all of whom are free agents) as well as star slugger Juan Soto (who is under contract but a likely trade candidate) may be on their way out of San Diego too.

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