Mets Notes: Senga, DH, McNeil, extensions

One of the bigger moves in the Mets’ active offseason was the signing of the starter Kodai Senga to a $75 million five-year warranty. The 30-year-old right-hander makes the leap from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, where he had a 2.59 ERA over 11 seasons. Senga has been one of the best performing hurlers in free agency, although of course there is some performance risk until he translates his production against the MLB competition.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Mets also expressed some concerns about Senga’s medical exams before finalizing the contract in December. Further details aren’t clear, though Heyman notes that Mets officials have expressed confidence in Senga’s health outlook for the upcoming season. That’s hardly surprising, because whatever concerns the organization raised didn’t stop it from agreeing the fourth-biggest deal for a free-agent pitcher this offseason. That deal also gives Senga a chance to sign out after the 2025 season and retest the market, although the Associated Press reports that that’s contingent on the right-hander pitching a total of 400 innings over the next three years.

More news from Queens:

  • The Mets never pursued a full-time designated hitter upgrade this offseason, in part out of a desire to give their younger hitters a path to at-bats, writes SNY’s Andy Martino. Best prospects Francicso Alvarez And Brett Baty Each made the majors by the end of the 2022 season. Each is a polished hitter but faces questions about their defense at catcher and third base respectively. This also applies to corner infielders Markus Vientos, who doesn’t have quite the caliber of prospects as Álvarez or Baty, but has earned an MLB look with a .280/.358/.519 performance at Triple-A Syracuse. Martino suggests the Mets probably won’t give them a look at DH early in the season in hopes that everyone continues to show defensive progress, although there could be a path to all-at-bat reps later in the year — or for veterans Eduardo Escobar slipping to DH if Baty eventually grabbed the third base job. Left-handed veteran Daniel Vogelbach earned the bigger share of a DH pull to open the year with an excellent .261/.382/.497 against righties. Offseason signee Tommy Pham or last summer’s Deadline pickup There reputation are real bats who could shoulder the load against southpaw. Ruf’s second-half struggles give Pham the upper hand in that regard, but Martino writes that the Mets will at least likely carry Ruf on the roster into spring training.
  • New York signed one of their homegrown stars last Friday Jeff McNeil on a four-year, $50 million extension to potentially buy out a trio of free agent years. General Manager Billy Eppler addressed the deal earlier this week, expressing his great openness to negotiations with other key players just starting out in their careers (link via’s Anthony DiComo). First Base Player Peter Alonso is the most logical candidate for these types of talks as he enters his penultimate season of arbitration control, although neither Eppler nor Alonso’s reps at Apex Baseball have publicly indicated whether talks could occur in the coming weeks. At least discussions with McNeil lasted a long time before they resulted in a deal. The Athletic’s Will Sammon reports that Eppler and McNeil’s camp at Paragon Sports International first opened talks over the extension in November 2021, just before the lockout froze communications between teams and 40-man squad players until March.

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