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The Rich Get Richer - Mets Sign Kodai Senga

Kodai Senga

Kodai Senga

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Mets Sign Kodai Senga

Steve Cohen cares not for your luxury tax threshold. He wants one thing and one thing only – the Mets to win a World Series Championship. He is proving that he will do anything and everything that he can to achieve that goal.

After getting spurned by longtime staff ace Jacob deGrom – who signed a massive five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers, Cohen and Company have gone to work.

The signed reigning American League Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86.66 million deal to replace deGrom. They brought back center fielder Brandon Nimmo with a hefty eight-year, $162 million contract. They added a premium setup man to the mix by inking David Robertson to a one-year, $10 million pact. They added another solid arm to the middle of their rotation by signing José Quintana to a bargain two-year, $26 million deal. The Mets also acquired Brooks Raley in a deal with the Rays. For most teams, that would have represented a terrific offseason. Not for the Mets.

They went back to work late on Saturday night, signing the top remaining right-handed hurler on the free agent market – Kodai Senga – to a five-year, $75 million contract. The 29-year-old hurler compiled a stellar 1.94 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 156/49 K/BB ratio across 144 innings last year for the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

Senga noted all along that his preference was to play for a contender, and Cohen’s spending certainly shows that the Mets are going to compete. He reportedly had an offer on the table with more money from the Padres, but Senga ultimately chose the Mets. He also had a strong preference for an opt-out clause after the third year of the contract – which the Mets included.

He had been projected by MLBTradeRumors to land exactly the contract that he did – five years and $75 million – but given the other contracts that we have seen for starting pitchers in this market, it feels like the Mets actually got a nice value here. Unlike many players that come over from Japan, the Mets do not owe an additional posting fee, as Senga was a free agent after exercising an opt-out clause in his contract with the Hawks.

The current projection by Roster Resource for the Mets payroll entering the 2023 season is a staggering $334.68 million. That blows past the fourth and final tier of the Competitive Balance Tax threshold ($293M). That means that with that projected payroll, Cohen and the Mets would owe a tax penalty of $104.85 million – more than the entire payrolls of 10 big league clubs.

While some owners are crying poor and feel like more rules need to be put in place to reign in Cohen and his spending, as a fan of the game it’s awesome to see an owner so invested in winning that he’s willing to do whatever it takes. It would be nice if the other owners followed suit and invested more in their own products.

Blue Jays add Kiermaier

The Blue Jays jumped in on the free agent fun over the weekend. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported on Saturday that the Jays had reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. No word yet on the financial terms or the duration of the contract – which is still pending a physical.

Kiermaier was limited to just 63 games last year with the Rays due to a torn labrum in his left hip that wound up requiring season-ending surgery in early August. The 32-year-old defensive wizard remains an elite center-field defender and represents a solid addition for the Blue Jays. His presence should enable the club to give George Springer additional time off from playing the field. He possesses a nice blend of power and speed, but injuries have taken a toll on his production the last few seasons. If he manages to stay healthy, he’ll make an impact for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.

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