Mets sign journey-man starter to two-year deal

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, mets
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

After numerous attempts to sign other starters and rumors about acquiring another arm, the Mets have finally added another piece to their rotation.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Mets have signed LHP Sean Manaea to a two-year contract worth $28 million with an opt-out following the 2024 campaign.

A look at Manaea’s baseball journey so far

Manaeas’s major league journey started in 2013 when the Kansas City Royals selected him 34th overall in the Major League Baseball Draft. He quickly rose through the minor leagues before being dealt alongside Aaron Brooks to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Ben Zobrist on July 28, 2015.

Manaea would make his major league debut for the green and gold the following year.

The left-hander finished his rookie campaign, pitching 144.2 innings across 25 appearances, 24 of which were starts, to a 3.86 ERA with a 1.189 WHIP and 124 strikeouts.

The Indiana native would take a step back in his sophomore campaign, pitching 158.2 innings across 29 starts to a 4.37 ERA with a 1.399 WHIP and 140 strikeouts.

Manaea would bounce back in 2018, pitching 160.2 innings across 27 starts to a 3.59 ERA with a 1.077 WHIP and 108 strikeouts. The left-hander also threw the first no-hitter for the Athletics since 2010 when he blanked the Red Sox on April 21.

The Indiana native would start 2019 rehabbing a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the tail end of the 2018 campaign, and despite initial timelines expecting him to be back by midseason, Manaea didn’t return until September.

In five starts to close the 2019 campaign, Manaea dominated, pitching 29.2 innings to a 1.21 ERA with 0.775 WHIP and 30 strikeouts alongside a ridiculous 358 ERA+.

Manaea would fail to replicate that success in his postseason debut when he started the 2019 American League Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The left-hander lasted just two innings, allowing four hits and four runs, although he did strike out five batters in what turned into a 5-1 loss for the green and gold.

The Indiana native struggled in the Covid-19 shortened 2020 campaign, pitching 54 innings across 11 starts to a 4.50 ERA with a 1.204 WHIP and 45 strikeouts.

Manea would bounce back in 2021, leading the American League in starts with 32 while pitching 179.1 innings to a 3.91 ERA with a 1.227 WHIP and 194 strikeouts.

That would turn out to be Manaea’s final campaign for the green and gold as on April 3, 2022, the Athletics traded Manaea and Aaron Holiday to the San Diego Padres for Adrián Martínez and Euribiel Angeles.

The Indiana native’s first season in the National League would not go to plan, as he pitched 158 innings across 30 appearances, 28 of which were starts, to a 4.96 ERA with a 1.297 WHIP and 156 strikeouts.

After the season, Manaea signed with the San Francisco Giants, where he got demoted to the bullpen after some early season struggles.

The 31-year-old finished the 2023 campaign, pitching 117.2 innings across 37 appearances, 10 of which were starts, to a 4.44 ERA with a 1.241 WHIP and 128 strikeouts.

Manaea opted out of his contract following the season and became a free agent.

What does this mean for the Mets?

Signing Manaea is a low-risk, high-reward situation for the blue and orange. The Mets hope the left-hander can revitalize his career in Queens and become a solid piece of their rotation.

The opt-out after the first year will also allow the Mets to easily trade him at the deadline if he has a massive first half, which is excellent for an organization that wants to improve its farm system.

The addition of Manaea does give the Mets five starting pitchers, but they may look to add another in an attempt to have some depth or for the potential to have a six-man rotation.