New York Mets fans woke up on Sunday to find Sean Manaea will be the man to complete the rotation. Up until then, the Mets were in the market for one more free agent starter. They chose to go with Manaea who fits the mold alongside so many of the other additions made this offseason.
The Mets weren’t exactly in the market for bargains as much as they were seeking value. Manaea at his two-year deal worth $28 million is around the market rate for what pitchers of his caliber have gotten all around the league. Banking on an uptick in velocity and the addition of a sweeper to his repertoire last year with the San Francisco Giants, Manaea’s potential for next year is one thing. The undebatable facts are another and the best part of this free agent deal.
The Sean Manaea signing is different from many of the others the Mets have made
Still unsure exactly of how to feel about the Mets signing of Luis Severino, that choice seems to carry much bigger mysteries. Can Severino stay healthy? Can he actually be good again?
Those aren’t two questions we have to necessarily worry about with Manaea. He has managed to stay on the field for most of his career outside of the 2019 campaign when he made just 5 starts. Good health is what separated Manaea from some of the other candidates the Mets could have targeted this offseason. It’s a nice change of pace after signing Harrison Bader whose biggest problem has been getting on the field.
In terms of what he can contribute, Manaea wasn’t all that great his last two years since leaving the Oakland Athletics. However, he didn’t completely implode either. His 2023 season included a demotion to the bullpen. His final four appearances came as a starter again. He was able to lower his season ERA from 5.00 down to 4.44 while giving up 3 earned runs or less in those final appearances.
Manaea’s success as a reliever last year puts him in the same conversation as Adrian Houser as a man who could spend some time in both roles. It would make him an expensive reliever, but that’s the risk you take when you gamble on a player like him. The opt out for 2025 will undoubtedly get exercised if Manaea has a big year. If he doesn’t, we’ll once again revisit the potential success he could have in a Mets uniform.