The Mets have agreed to a five-year, $75MM contract with the right-hander Kodai SengaSNY’s Andy Martino reports (Twitter connections). Senga’s contract also has no-trade protection and an opt-out clause after the 2025 season, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). The deal will become official when Senga passes corporate. Senga is represented by the Wasserman Group.
The contract figure corresponds directly to the projection from MLBTR, as Senga is ranked 11 on the list of the top 50 free agents of the offseason. There is no other posting fee involved in the Mets’ spending, as Senga has become a fully free agent after exercising an opt-out clause in his contract with Nippon SoftBank’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Professional Baseball.
Senga turns 30 in January, and he leaves the Hawks after 11 outstanding seasons. A 2.59 ERA, 28.22% strikeout rate, and a 9.33% walk rate over 1089 innings is the highest in Japan. Senga’s four-footer arsenal is highlighted by an excellent split and a fastball that regularly hits the upper 90s. Scouting reports indicate that Senga’s control is sometimes inconsistent, but otherwise, many experts believe his stuff can translate well to North American soccer.
Just over a year ago Senga signed a new five-year contract with the Hawks, but with the important proviso of the widely expected opt-out clause, assuming he accumulated the service time required free. group. That was a key step in the process, as the Hawks (unlike several other NPB teams) do not provide their players for the NPB/MLB posting system. In discussing his plan to move to North American football, Senga said last year that “as a ball player, it is essential to live my life always aiming higher,” and arguably achieved his goals in Japanese baseball. The right-hander’s resume includes five Japan Series titles with the Hawks, three NPB All-Star appearances, two placements on the Pacific League’s Best Nine team, and (outside league play) Olympic gold medal with Japan’s soccer team in 2021.
Between Senga’s ability and the overall demand to launch this season, it is not surprising that several teams were monitoring his market. The Red Sox, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, and Padres were the other clubs interested, and agent Joel Wolfe said that as many as a dozen MLB teams had investigated the client his There were several five- and six-year offers on the table for Senga, and although he opted for a five-year option from the Mets, the opt-out allows Senga to re-enter the market and is maybe more and more years to land. money as he enters his age 33 season.
Heading into the offseason, the Mets faced the challenge of a large free agent class that included a star closer (Edwin Diaz) and most of the bullpen overall, their starting center fielder (Brandon Nimmo), and most of their initial distribution in form Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walkerand Chris Bassitt. However, with the Winter Meetings just over, New York has already addressed most of those holes by re-signing Diaz and Nimmo, and replacing that starting trio with Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, and now Senga. If that wasn’t enough, the Mets added more support to the relief corps by signing David Robertson and building Brooks Raley in a trade from the Rays.
There was no doubt that owner Steve Cohen was willing to keep spending to keep his 101-game winning team a World Series contender. However, the spending spree has just continued to reach new heights, as Roster Resource projects the Mets for a 2023 salary of around $334.68MM, and a luxury tax figure of just over $349.5 MM.
Not only does this exceed the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $233MM, it even goes up to a level past the fourth and highest level ($293MM) of the CAP. The fourth tier was instituted in the final bargaining agreement as another penalty for overspending, and was unofficially nicknamed the “Steve Cohen Tax” because the owner made no secret of his intentions for a massive increase. take on a salary. Since this is the Mets’ second consecutive year of taxes, they will face a two-time repeat penalty, as well as an average tax of 90 percent on any dollar spent beyond the mark $233MM. This works out to about $104.85MM in tax penalty — according to Fangraphs, 11 teams currently have no more than $104.85MM to spend on their entire 2023 payroll.
With the Mets already in uncharted financial territory, there could be even more big moves for Cohen and GM Billy Eppler. As the luxury fee doesn’t appear to be more than a speed bump to the Amazins’ plans, perhaps the club will continue to add high-priced talent, and not bother with try to get under the $293MM threshold for any kind of small reduction in their CAP bill.
On paper, the bullpen looks like it could use a little more reinforcement, and catcher also looks like a weaker position except for a key prospect Francisco Alvarez he is expected to get more big league playing time in 2023. The rotation now appears to be completely set Max ScherzerVerlander, Senga, Quintana, and Carlos Carrasco making up the starting five. Speculatively, the Mets might even feel comfortable enough in their depth to shop one of their backup starters (i.e. David Peterson, Taylor Megill, Eliezer Hernandez) in trade talks with a team in need of pitching. Or, given the old ages and some injury uncertainty surrounding the Mets’ starters, New York might just opt to keep as much depth as possible.
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