Grading every major Mets move on the road to the 2024 season

New York Mets Workout
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Shintaro Fujinami has the ceiling of an All-Star closer

Among the several moves David Stearns made this offseason, the one that could have the best cost-benefit ratio for the Mets could be the signing of Shintaro Fujinami. Fujinami signed a one-year contract worth a guaranteed $3.35 million with incentives that could add $850,000.

A relevant aspect of Fujinami's contract is its flexibility because it includes minor league options, which could allow the team to send down Fujinami, after a good or bad performance, in times of high need for fresh arms, and pressing moments of the season. Minor league options are scarce for players of the profile and caliber of Fujinami.

Despite being a dominant pitcher in Japan before his MLB debut, his arrival in the USA did not generate the expected impact, finishing the season with a 7.18 ERA. However, since his midseason trade to the Baltimore Orioles, he showed signs of improvement, finishing the second half of the year with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Fujinami's profile has two important problems, its control and the hard-hit contact allowed, both problems derived from the same situation, location. Despite having an explosive fastball that averages more than 98 mph and a splitter in combination with good cutting speed and spin rate, the location of both pitches generates enough contact from the rivals in the strike zone to which he connects. a high bat speed despite inducing good swing and miss.

However, it is no secret to anyone that the adaptation to the use of the MLB ball by Japanese pitchers takes time, which could indicate that as the preseason progresses, Fujinami will be able to continue with its adaptation to the USA model. As Jeremy Hefner refers to in this spring training, Fujinami has a closer All-Star ceiling, and the Mets can get exactly, that for the price of a middle reliever this season.

. . Grade. Grade. C+

The Mets made a big statement to close the offseason

David Stearns used his experience and patience despite criticism from the fans, after seeing an offseason with less impact than previous years, and achieved a highly necessary signing for the team. The Mets agreed to sign J.D. Martinez to a one-year contract worth a total of $12 million.

Martinez's signature and contract have many relevant aspects for the organization. On the one hand, the offensive value that Martines brings in the middle of a lineup that looked without relevant offensive value in the designated hitter position, and on the other hand, the financial value that Stearns achieved by mitigating the impact on the 2024 payroll and leaving room to operate in case you are competing for the trade deadline.

Martinez was one of last season's top hitters despite his age. In 113 games, the well-known designated hitter posted an exceptional line of .271/.321/.572/.893 with 33 home runs and 103 RBI, with a hard hit contact in the top 2% of the league with 55.1% and a quality of batting measured through his wOBA of .369, located in the top 8% of the entire MLB.

On the economic side, the signing looks even better since Stearns got Martinez to agree to a contract value of just $4.5 million (including a signing bonus), leaving $1.5 million to be paid deferred between 2034-2038, which softens the cost in terms from luxury tax. For Martinez's level of offensive production, even accounting for his playing time and possible injuries, this contract is in his bargain for the Mets organization.

The Martinez signing changes fans' entire perception and improves the Mets' chances of being competitive for a wild card spot this season. There is no doubt that Steve Cohen and David Stearns sent a clear message heading into the start of the 2024 season, the team has not given up and is here to compete.

A+. A+. . . Grade