Mets to Exit Shota Imanaga Sweepstakes? Latest $28 Million Deal Solves Queens Teams’ Pitching Needs

Published 01/07/2024, 8:50 AM EST

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The ways of Amazin’ Mets continue to surprise the baseball world. The high-spending New York Mets have gone the polar opposite way this year. Instead of superstar deals, they’re making low-key low-risk high-reward signings. First with the former Yankee Luis Severine and now with Sean Manaea, the team is showing its newfound strategy. But with two pitching signings already made, what does this say about the Mets’ Shota Imanaga pursuit?

While Shota Imanaga has other suitors who are much ahead of the Mets, one could never write off the Queens’ side. Yet with signings like this and abundant reports of 2024 being more of a transition year, are the Mets now exiting the Imanaga sweepstakes as well?

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Ever since the offseason began, pitching has been the biggest area of concern for the New York Mets. While many expected them to continue with their huge spending, they’ve gone their separate way. Though the Mets were in on the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes till the very end, apart from it, things have been silent. Now their $28 million deal with Manaea could lower the Mets’ chances for Imanaga.

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It was already known that much of the Mets’ offseason would depend on lowering their payroll. Currently, the team sits much above the tax threshold, something that they’d like to change. Reports had already indicated that even though the Mets had enquired for Shota Imanaga, they weren’t favorites. Mainly because the costs of Imanaga have climbed over $100 million.

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Had his market fell and the price of a deal reduced, the Mets would have pounced immediately. But with chances of that happening, look slim at best currently, so the Queens side might have shifted their focus to short-term solutions. Having already made one signing of Luis Severine, this addition of Sean Manaea gives much-needed depth to the Mets squad. At the same time, they also get a breathing space.

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With an opt-out clause in the contract, this type of low-risk contract enables the Mets to move past the 2024 season easily, while focusing on the 2025 season. On the other hand, the Imanaga sweepstakes remain strong with quality teams behind him.

The current state of the Shota Imanaga sweepstakes

Even after the Mets’ possible exit, there remains the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Angels, the Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago Cubs in the market for Shota Imanaga. Most of these teams need a strong left-hander and Imanaga is one of the most viable options in the market.

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These teams could generate a huge bidding war for Imanaga. A high-payrolled Mets may have recognized their lack of appetite for such a battle currently. So as of now, the Mets aren’t out, but their chances of signing Imanaga might start fluctuating soon. But things can always change between now and January 11 – the deadline day.

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Written by:

Sanskar Dubey

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One take at a time

“Rigidity leads to demise, while adaptability paves the path to vitality." Driven by a deep passion for sports, I’m glad I found baseball. Now serving as an MLB writer at EssentiallySports, I love to write about the thrilling tussle between the National League and American League throughout the season, although I may have a fondness for a particular Yankees icon named Alex Rodriguez.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj

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