Mets rumors: Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga on radar

Justin Verlander Mets rumors
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander celebrates the last out in the fifth inning in Game 5 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Mets’ contingency plan regarding their pitching staff potentially received a bit more clarity on Tuesday when SNY’s Andy Martino reported that they are “considering” a pursuit of free-agent star Justin Verlander and are scheduled to meet with Japanese product Kodai Senga. 

It appears the interest in Verlander is contingent upon whether or not Jacob deGrom will return to Queens. Recent reports have tabbed the Texas Rangers as potential favorites for the two-time Cy Young Award winner and his departure would leave an obvious and sizable void atop the Mets’ rotation. 

Verlander would likely be pursued in the same capacity as Max Scherzer was: A shorter-term, high AAV deal in an attempt to get the last top-tier years out of the veteran right-hander. 

The two-time Cy Young Award winner is the favorite to win a third this season after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts with the World Series champion Houston Astros in 2022 — his age 39 season. 

He’ll be 40 years old by Opening Day and even after coming off Tommy John surgery in 2020, his ceiling is better known than that of Senga’s, who will be meeting MLB teams in the United States in hopes of making the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

In 22 starts this season with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of NPB, Senga went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched. He possesses a career 2.59 ERA across 11 NPB seasons. 

It’s no secret that the Mets are in the market for starting pitching given that deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker all opted out of their contracts to become free agents this offseason. It currently leaves the Mets with just Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Joey Lucchesi, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson as their only signed starting-pitching options. 

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