The Mets are soon to add Luis Severino to their rotation, as they’re in the process of finalizing a $13MM contract with the longtime Yankee. That’s one of what’ll surely be multiple additions to the starting staff, as New York entered the offseason with only Kodai Senga and José Quintana locked into rotation spots.
There’s no secret about their interest in NPB superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the three-time winner of the Sawamura Award (Japan’s Cy Young equivalent). Upwards of a dozen teams are in the mix for the 25-year-old righty, who seems likely to command the largest contract of any pure pitcher in this year’s class. Jon Heyman of the New York Post wrote this afternoon that some rival clubs consider the Mets the favorite on Yamamoto, but there’ll be no shortage of competition.
Unsurprisingly, the front office has its eye on multiple options on the open market. Michael Marino of Fantrax tweeted this week that the club was showing interest in left-hander Jordan Montgomery. Andy Martino of SNY echoes that sentiment, calling Montgomery “a more likely target” than fellow free agent southpaws Blake Snell and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Montgomery has been a popular name. He is also known to have drawn attention from the Red Sox, Yankees and incumbent Rangers. It stands to reason there are numerous additional suitors for the soon to be 31-year-old, who is coming off a 3.20 ERA across 188 2/3 innings. That’s a career-best mark, but he has allowed fewer than four earned runs per nine while reaching 30+ starts in each of the past three seasons.
In addition to their Yamamoto pursuit, the Mets apparently also have some level of interest in Shota Imanaga. Martino adds that they’ll “explore” the market on the left-hander, the second-best pitcher coming over from Japan this offseason. Imanaga was officially posted by the Yokohama BayStars this week, opening a 45-day window for him to sign with a major league team.
While Imanaga isn’t the same caliber of pitcher as Yamamoto, he has a chance to beat the five-year, $75MM pact which the Mets gave Senga last offseason. Imanaga turned 30 in September, so he’s one of the younger free agent arms available (albeit nowhere near as young as Yamamoto). He’s coming off a 2.80 ERA showing over 148 innings in NPB. Imanaga struck out 174 hitters, fanning a little over 29% of batters faced. Evaluators with whom MLBTR spoke projected him as a potential mid-rotation arm. Brandon Tew of Spots Info Solutions took a look at Imanaga’s repertoire yesterday, praising his command and the carry he generates on his low-90s four-seam fastball.
Each of Montgomery and Imanaga could land five or more years. A pact of that length would align with the Mets’ general competitive timeline. Team officials have made clear they won’t punt on the upcoming season but are targeting 2025 and beyond as a more realistic contention window.
To that end, Martino suggests they’re unlikely to be actively involved in trade discussions for a star player whose contract expires at the end of next season. He reports that the Mets are not in discussions with the Rays on Tyler Glasnow at present. (While Martino doesn’t specifically mention Corbin Burnes or Shane Bieber, it’d be similarly logical for the team to mostly sit out those discussions as well.) They’re seemingly reluctant to relinquish significant future value for a rental on the heels of a fourth-place finish in a competitive NL East.