Mets sign Japanese ace Kodai Senga to five-year, $75 million deal as Steve Cohen continues spending spree


The New York Mets have reached an agreement with free-agent right-hander Kodai Senga, formerly of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, according to SNY. It’s a five-year contract worth $75 million, CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden confirms. The contract is pending a physical.

Senga, 29, pitched for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks for 11 seasons, accumulating a 2.42 ERA and a 2.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio in more than 1,340 innings pitched. He visited the Mets in New York a few weeks ago. Senga entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the 23rd best free agent available. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Senga is an accomplished right-hander who posted a 1.89 ERA and a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season across 148 innings. Senga’s best pitches are his lively mid-90s fastball and his devastating “ghost” forkball, a true out pitch in the majors or anywhere else. He’s capable of stair-stepping with that combination, raising the heat before burying the fork. He also throws a decent curveball. 

CBS Sports later took a deeper look at Senga in November, explaining that he was not subjected to the “posting” system agreement between Major League Baseball and NPB. Rather, Senga was a true free agent, meaning he was able to negotiate with teams on his own terms. Clearly Senga found a fit to his liking.

Despite losing Jacob deGrom, the Mets have been extremely active this offseason, with owner Steve Cohen approving a payroll that has soared above $300 million. Senga joins Edwin Díaz (five years, $102 million), Justin Verlander (two years, $86.6 million), José Quintana (two years, $26 million), Brandon Nimmo (eight years, $162 million), and David Robertson (one year, $10 million) as Mets signings this winter. They also traded for left-handed reliever Brooks Raley.

FanGraphs estimates New York’s 2023 competitive balance tax payroll at $349.6 million with Senga. The CBT threshold is $233 million and the highest penalty tier — the “Cohen Tax” — is $293 million. As a repeat offender, the Mets are taxed 90 percent on every dollar over $293 million. Senga’s $15 million average annual salary will cost Cohen $28.5 million in real dollars in 2023 because of the tax.

The Mets went 101-61 in 2022, identical to the Atlanta Braves, but the Braves won the season series and had the tiebreaker, and won the NL East. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 — it was the third-largest blown division lead in baseball history — and they were eliminated in three games by the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card Series.





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