5 recent Mets free agent signings that turned out better than expected

The Mets have better luck with free agents that have no expectations.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets
Miami Marlins v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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4. Kodai Senga

Following the aftermath of the 2022 Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres, the Mets had a multitude of high-profile free agents they would need to either re-sign or replace. Among those free agents included four starting pitchers in deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. With the unlikelihood of resigning all four pitchers given their respective price tags, Eppler would have to get creative in finding their replacements. After exercising the 2023 club option on Carrasco, the Mets turned to the free-agent market to find help.

One of the most intriguing names on the market was Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga. Having never pitched in the United States before, very few fans, let alone media outlets, knew much about the 30-year-old. Playing for the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan, Senga pitched to a 1.94 ERA across 144 innings pitched. He struck out 156 batters while walking just 27. While many evaluators compare Japanese baseball to "Quadruple-A" in America, these statistics are beyond just a great season in AAA.

In reality, none of us know what to expect when a baseball player makes their major league debut. The variance for international players is much higher given their need to adapt in a new country with a different culture and language barriers However, Senga's ghost fork nearly danced him to becoming the National League Rookie of the Year in 2023 and earned him the Cy-Young Award votes. His 2.98 ERA across 166.1 innings pitched with 202 strikeouts could not have been predicted by anyone, including Eppler himself. For Mets fans, we can sigh a breath of fresh air as Senga's 5-year $75 million contract seems like a steal in 2024.