Kodai Senga signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the New York Mets this offseason.
It’s a hefty payday for a pitcher who’s never appeared in a Major League Baseball game, but it’s by no means a back-breaking amount of cash, especially for a team, like the Mets, with very deep pockets. It’s actually fair to wonder why Senga didn’t land a more lucrative contract when you consider both the current free agent market and the right-hander’s impressive track record in Japan.
Well, sources told the New York Post’s Jon Heyman that an “iffy medical” might’ve suppressed Senga’s earning potential.
Here’s what Heyman wrote Thursday:
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.
Clearly, the Mets ultimately were confident enough in Senga’s ability to hold up physically in 2023 and beyond. The same can’t be said for their viewpoint on Carlos Correa, with whom the Mets reportedly agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract before backing out over medical concerns, paving the way for the shortstop to return to the Minnesota Twins on a six-year, $200 million deal.
Senga arrives in New York after a very successful run in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, where he pitched for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and earned three All-Star selections over 10 seasons. The 30-year-old went 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA across 148 innings in 2022.