How Japanese pitcher changes Mets’ starting rotation

The New York Mets starting rotation has been bolstered to a new level.

According to multiple reports, the Mets agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal to bring Kodai Senga west from Japan late Saturday night.

The 29-year-old right-hander has a career 2.59 ERA across 11 seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. While an unproven talent, Senga was regarded as one of the best free agent pitchers on the market alongside Carlos Rodon, who is still unsigned.

This past season, Senga posted a 11-6 record with a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 144 innings.

Senga boasts a fastball that touches triple-digits and a nasty forkball. The concerns about Senga are his ability to pitch every fifth day, as well as the new pitch clock in the upcoming 2023 season. 

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After losing Jacob deGrom to the Rangers and Taijuan Walker to the Phillies, general manager Billy Eppler has not only filled in the gaps but taken the Mets starting rotation up a notch.

Without Senga, the Mets would have had to turn to David Peterson or Tylor Megill in the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. Chris Bassitt, who was the Mets’ No. 3 starter last season, remains unsigned after turning down his end of a $19 million mutual option.

The Mets added American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander on a two-year, $86.66 million deal and then Jose Quintana over from the Cardinals on a two-year, $26 million deal earlier in the week.

The Mets still have Max Scherzer, who is entering his second season of a a three-year, $130 million contract, while Carlos Carrasco was brought back on a $14 million club option.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY