The New York Mets were directly at the heart of the free agency frenzy that occurred during the MLB winter meetings.
This is in part due to the immense spending power of Mets owner Steve Cohen, and in part due to the fact that Mets could well contend for a World Series in 2023.
New York lost ace Jacob DeGrom to the Texas Rangers. But it wasn’t long before they found his replacement in reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. Beyond that, the Mets added starters Kodai Senga and Jose Quintana and relievers David Robertson and Adam Ottavino.
But the big news of the offseason was later to come. The Mets shocked the baseball world when they swooped in to land superstar shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa had previously agreed to a deal with the San Francisco Giants, but that deal fell apart due to concerns found during his physical examination.
The only problem, however, is that the Mets had not done a physical of their own. When they eventually did so, they discovered the same issues that San Francisco did. Correa’s deal with New York soon fell apart as well and he eventually signed back with the Minnesota Twins.
As it turns out, Correa’s physical wasn’t the only one to cause concern for the Mets.
MLB writer Jon Heyman reports in the New York Post that Senga, who was a superstar in Japan before coming to the US this winter, also had some medical concerns.
New Mets pitcher Kodai Senga throws 100 mph and has a forkball so good it’s called a “ghost” pitch, he has a career 2.59 ERA and five rings in Japan before age 30. Yet, with a $75 million deal, he got slightly more than mid-rotation starter Taijuan Walker. The reason may be what sources say is an iffy medical.
His physical was actually OK’d before figures were finalized by a team that’s become a stickler on physicals in what was said to be a “good behind-the-scenes collaborative effort.” If this mode impacted the final number, it also curtailed potential drama. Folks in the know say it’s common for Japanese pitchers to show more wear on the arm earlier since star starters there throw more innings at younger ages.
Senga signed what many viewed as a cut-rate deal with New York. So injury concerns would help explain why that was the case. If he remains healthy, it could prove a steal for the Mets. But if he does not, Cohen and company may wish they sent the Japanese ace the way of Correa.