Ex-Padres Pitcher Contract With Mets as Free Agent

Manaea's Revamped Pitching Sparks New York Mets' Interest.

by Nouman Rasool
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Ex-Padres Pitcher Contract With Mets as Free Agent
© Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

In a notable move in Major League Baseball, Sean Manaea, the former San Diego Padres pitcher, has inked a significant deal with the New York Mets. The left-hander, known for his late-season resurgence in 2023, has agreed to a two-year contract valued at $28 million, with an option to opt out after the 2024 season.

This development was first reported on Sunday by Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

Manaea's journey to the Mets has been marked by several transitions.

Initially acquired by the Padres in April 2022 in a trade with the Oakland A's, he exchanged clubs for minor leaguers Adrian Martinez and Euribiel Angeles. His stint with the Padres, while marked by a commendable effort, reflected mixed results.

Over the course of 30 games, including 28 starts, Manaea recorded an 8-9 win-loss record with a somewhat lackluster 4.96 earned-run average (ERA). The 31-year-old's trajectory took a turn following his time with the Padres.

Signing with the San Francisco Giants after the season, he experienced a slow start in 2023. However, the latter part of the year saw a remarkable turnaround, with Manaea posting a 2.67 ERA in September, over four starts and one relief appearance, and securing a 2-1 record.

Mets' Strategic Acquisition

The Mets' acquisition of Manaea signals a calculated bet on his recent performance upswing. The pitcher has notably enhanced his arsenal, adding about 3 mph to his four-seam fastball and integrating a new sweeper, complementing his primary changeup.

This evolution marks a significant shift from his earlier sinker/changeup approach with an occasional slider. CBS Sports' Mike Axisa highlighted this transformation, noting Manaea's radically changed pitch mix. The pitcher now combines a four-seamer/sweeper with a third-pitch changeup, exhibiting a marked increase in velocity.

This shift is evident in his performance metrics, with Manaea achieving a 3.43 ERA in the second half of 2023, up from a 5.49 ERA in the first half. His strikeout rate of 25.7% notably surpasses the league average of 22.7%, aligning with his career-best figures.

Additionally, his 36.4% hard-hit rate allowed sets a new personal record, falling below the 39.2% league average. These improvements represent a substantial upgrade from Manaea's tenure with the Padres, offering the Mets a potentially revitalized pitching talent.

The upcoming season will provide an intriguing backdrop, as Manaea is slated to face his former team. The Padres are scheduled to play the Mets in a three-game series in Queens in June, followed by a four-game series in San Diego in August, setting the stage for a compelling reunion and a test of Manaea's continued evolution on the mound.

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