The New York Mets reportedly remain interested in signing Japanese pitcher Koudai Senga despite landing José Quintana in free agency.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the Mets are still involved in the bidding for the prized right-hander.
Senga, 29, has been attempting to make the leap to the majors for years and is finally able to exercise his international free agent rights following the conclusion of the 2022 Japanese season. He's coming off a stellar campaign that saw him post a 11-6 and 1.94 ERA while striking out 156 strikeouts in 144 innings.
Agent Joel Wolfe said Senga has already received contract offers of five and six years from teams. Senga's main priority in picking his MLB fit will be teams that want to win now, which could make the Mets a favorite.
The Mets are almost certain to have baseball's largest payroll in 2023, with the Quintana contract taking them to around $298 million in Competitive Balance Tax payroll, per ESPN's Jeff Passan. Signing Senga would take them well over the $300 million mark.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has consistently maintained he will spend whatever is necessary to bring the Mets their first World Series since 1986. Stars Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Francisco Lindor are set to make $120.7 million in salary by themselves next season, which is more than the total payroll of all but 11 other teams.
If Cohen is willing to spend this much on a winner, adding Senga is arguably a must to ensure the strongest rotation possible. Verlander and Scherzer will open the 2023 season at a combined 78 years of age, and both have had injury issues of late. There's no guarantee they'll be available all season, so adding another power pitcher like Senga will help fortify the roster in case of injury.