The Mets have had an atypical offseason when in comparison to the others in the Steve Cohen era.
While the blue and orange have yet to deal out the gargantuan contracts like in years past, new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns has done a stellar job upgrading the roster.
A particular area of emphasis for Stearns has been the Mets bullpen, which was in the bottom half of the league last year, albeit they were missing their elite closer in Edwin Díaz after the Puerto Rico native tore his right patellar tendon during the World Baseball Classic.
The blue and orange have chosen to stay away from the Josh Hader’s of the market, instead opting for a quantity over quality approach while signing players with high upside.
On Friday, they added to their collection of arms and signed a flame thrower.
The Mets have signed to a one-year contract
After spending nine years pitching for the Hanshin Tigers of the NPB, where he made three all-star appearances, won the 2015 NPB All-Star Game MVP, and led the Central League in strikeouts in the same year, Fujinami signed a one-year contract worth $3.25 million with the Oakland Athletics.
Fujinami struggled with the Athletics, pitching 49.1 innings across 34 games, seven of which were starts, to an 8.57 ERA with a 1.662 WHIP and 51 strikeouts before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Easton Lucas on July 19, 2023.
The Japan native performed much better for the Orioles, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Fujinami pitched 29.2 innings across 30 appearances to a 4.85 ERA with a 1.213 WHIP and 32 strikeouts.
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What does this mean for the Mets?
The signing of Fujinami gives the Mets a different element of their bullpen.
Last season, the Mets had zero pitches thrown at least 100 MPH. Fujinami threw 136 pitches last year that hit triple digits.
The Mets bullpen looks complete, and we will have to wait and see where things shake come opening day.