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Mets in Pitcher Hunt? Kodai Senga Injury Scare Signals Montgomery, Snell Pursuit

Published 02/21/2024, 10:26 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The New York Mets’ 2023 collapse still stings. Even as the team embarked on a retooling offseason focused on building depth and smart additions rather than blockbuster splashes, a specter of that failure lingered. Now, as the 2024 season begins, there’s another jolt: ace pitcher Kodai Senga is experiencing arm fatigue. This unexpected setback opens a Pandora’s box of possibilities for the Mets. Could their conservative approach give way to another panic-driven blockbuster move?

The free-agent market still holds tempting options. Jordan Montgomery, fresh off a World Series victory and heroic postseason, offers a tantalizing blend of reliability and experience. Blake Snell, recently crowned with a Cy Young, brings the flash and excitement that New York fans crave, yet the inconsistency that might still give them chills. Could the Queens’ early setback lead them down a road of desperation—or will they finally show the patience and discipline that fans have long waited to see?

The Kodai Senga conundrum

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Mets skipper Carlos Mendoza was vague when asked about Senga’s condition on Wednesday’s SNY interview: “After his side session yesterday, he (Kodai Senga) came in and, you know, experienced some arm fatigue, uh, so he’s staying side and we’re taking a look at him.”

The team is awaiting more diagnostics, but Bleacher Reports paints a worrisome picture, describing Senga as “dealing with an arm issue” and potentially needing to miss mound time. This would put even more pressure on an already-remodeled Mets rotation. Enter their saving grace—the ever-prolonging free agency market.

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For the Metsies, Jordan Montgomery seems like the more realistic target. He was a key piece of the Texas Rangers’ 2023 World Series championship puzzle, notably defeating the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Unlike Blake Snell, he doesn’t have a qualifying offer attached, making him less expensive to acquire. While Montgomery wouldn’t replace Senga’s ace-level skills, he brings a certain reliability and postseason experience that the Mets desperately need. However, Snell remains the elusive Wild Card.

His 2023 Cy Young win makes him the splashier target, but his history of inconsistency and potential cost are major hurdles. FanSided argues that Snell’s qualifying offer essentially rules him out for the Mets, who’ve been less prone to massive spending this offseason. Any major Kodai Senga setback could change the equation entirely.

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Is an ace hunt underway?

The Mets are notoriously unpredictable, and their lower-key spending approach this winter might be a smokescreen. Owner Steve Cohen could pounce on the right opportunity, particularly if Kodai Senga’s injury appears more serious. It’s worth noting that, as The Daily News emphasizes, both Montgomery and Snell have the most powerful agent in the entire sports’ history to back them up: Scott Boras, infamous for playing a patient waiting game to maximize client deals.

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The ripple effects of Senga’s arm fatigue could extend far beyond the Mets’ Spring Training camp. We’re watching a potential bidding war for proven pitchers heat up, with the team’s strategy still a mystery. Will they play it safe or go for another big splash?

In the tense world of New York baseball, every move matters, and this latest twist has the potential to reshape the National League East once again.

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta

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Shrabana Sengupta is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Shrabana shot to fame when she covered two prime MLB events: the 2023 World Series and the Free Agency that followed. During the 2023 World Series, Shrabana wrote her unfeigned perspectives on the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager and his wife, the 27x World Series Champions’ heartbreaking season, and later covered Shohei Ohtani’s highly anticipated record-breaking contract in 2023-24.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das