No team has had a bigger, more high-profile offseason than the New York Mets. They've handed out close to $500 million in free agent contracts and it would have been more -- a lot more -- had they gone through with their deal with Carlos Correa: a 12-year, $315 million contract that was fell apart over concerns about his surgically repaired ankle.
As it turns out, Correa was not the only free agent with physical concerns to reach a contract with the Mets this winter. Right-hander Kodai Senga, who is making the jump to MLB after 11 seasons with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan, also had an issue arise with his physical, reports the New York Post. Unlike the Correa deal though, the Mets and Senga were able to work through it and complete the five-year, $75 million contract.
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.
Mets people express confidence he'll be healthy for 2023.
Senga turned 30 last week, and if you stick any 30-year-old pitcher in an MRI tube, chances are you'll find something that raises a few eyebrows. They all have wear and tear at that age. Also, MRIs and test results are like art. They're open to interpretation. One doctor's red flag could be another's non-issue. Clearly, whatever the Mets saw in Senga's physical wasn't a dealbreaker. For another team, it might have been.
Ultimately, Correa's situation and Senga's situation have no bearing on each other. Different players with different medicals, and just because you considered one player's issue a dealbreaker doesn't mean every little thing that pops up is a dealbreaker. Again, give any pitcher Senga's age an MRI and there will be something abnormal. It's just a question of how comfortable the team is with that abnormality. A five-year deal is also very different than 12 years. The Mets were more comfortable with Senga's issue (whatever it is) than Correa's ankle.
Senga went 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA in 148 innings for Softbank last season. He's thrown 1,340 2/3 career innings through his age 29 season, all in Japan. For reference, eight active MLB pitchers threw more innings through their age 29 season, including Senga's new teammate Justin Verlander.