MLB News

MLB rumors: Padres sign top international prospect Ethan Salas; Orioles interested in Michael Wacha

MLB rumors: Padres sign top international prospect Ethan Salas; Orioles interested in Michael Wacha

MLB spring training is about a month away, but that doesn’t mean Major League Baseball’s offseason is complete. Rather, teams still have time to put the finishing touches on their rosters ahead of camp. Keep it on this page as CBS Sports tracks all of the day’s latest news, notes, and rumors in the space below. 

Orioles still interested in Wacha

The Orioles remain open to signing veteran starter Michael Wacha, according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko. Baltimore’s interest in Wacha, who spent last season with the Red Sox, had previously been reported late last year. It was unclear how the O’s subsequent addition of Kyle Gibson impacted their interest in Wacha. Evidently, the answer is “not much.”

Wacha entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 32nd-best free agent available. Here’s what we wrote at the time

Wacha has become a back-of-the-rotation nomad, pitching for a different team in each of the past four seasons. He might make it five-for-five following his strongest effort since 2018. Wacha’s arsenal remains centered around verticality, as you would expect based on his arm slot. For our money, the most interesting part about his season was his embrace of a “sinker.” The quotation marks are necessary because this isn’t your standard sinker that aims to disrupt worms and ant colonies alike. Wacha’s ranked fifth in Induced Vertical Break, behind Kenley Jansen, Drew Smyly, Josh Hader, and Bailey Falter — or, the Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 7 sinkers most prone to being hit in the air. Put another way, Wacha’s sinker would have above-average “rise” for a four-seam fastball, meaning he’s not going to turn into Framber Valdez or Logan Webb anytime soon. (It would be cool if he did though; scientists would get a kick out of it.) We won’t go so far as to credit Wacha’s weird sinker for his year (he threw it only 13 percent of the time) or suggest it’ll change his career. We just think it’s neat. 

Wacha posted a 3.32 ERA (127 ERA+) in 127 innings last season. 

MLB‘s amateur international free agent market opened on Sunday. The Padres made the biggest splash of the day by inking catcher Ethan Salas for $5.6 million. Here’s what our Mike Axisa wrote about Salas:

Salas has baseball bloodlines. His older brother, Jose Salas, is a highly regarded infield prospect with the MarlinsBaseball America recently ranked the elder Salas the No. 4 prospect in Miami’s system and said his…

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