NEW YORK (AP)Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga and the New York Mets finalized a $75 million, five-year contract on Saturday.
Senga can opt out of the deal after the 2025 season.
New York scheduled a news conference for Monday morning to introduce him at Citi Field.
Seeking their first World Series title since 1986, the Mets have committed $476.7 million to seven free agents this offseason, adding starting pitchers Senga, Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana, retaining center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz, signing reliever David Robertson and reaching an agreement with catcher Omar Narvaez that is pending a physical.
Senga, a hard-throwing right-hander, did not have to go through the posting system with the Japanese big leagues because he has 11 seasons of service time. Several teams in the United States were said to be pursuing him, including the Boston Red Sox.
”Kodai has been on our radar for a number of years,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in a news release.
”Kodai has had exceptional success in his career, including helping lead his team to four consecutive Japan Series titles. We’re thrilled to add someone with his ability to our rotation.”
Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks last season. He tossed three scoreless innings in two outings to help Japan win a gold medal at the Olympics last year, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.
”Kodai has a championship pedigree and has excelled on the brightest of stages,” Mets owner Steve Cohen said in the release. ”We are very excited to welcome Kodai to our Mets family in Queens.”
Senga, Verlander and Quintana replace the three 2022 Mets starters who became free agents this offseason: Jacob deGrom left for Texas, Taijuan Walker went to Philadelphia and Chris Bassitt signed with Toronto.
The rotation also includes veteran Carlos Carrasco. New York picked up his $14 million option for next season after the 35-year-old right-hander went 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA.
David Peterson and Tylor Megill, both 27, provide depth.
Senga struck out 16 in 11 innings during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He permitted one earned run in three games, earning All-Tournament Team honors.
He will become the 14th player born in Japan to appear in a game for the Mets. That’s the most of any major league team, the club said.
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