Mets Sign New Pitcher Just in Time for Spring Training

New York Mets agree to terms with the pitcher Shintaro Fujinami ahead of Spring Training.
Sep 13, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Shintaro Fujinami (14)
Sep 13, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Shintaro Fujinami (14) / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets are taking a gamble on a live arm being added to the bullpen. According to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, New York agreed to terms with right-hander Shintaro Fujinami.

The deal is for one year worth $3.35 million. The contract also includes $850,000 in incentives. Fujinami spent last season with both the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles. Last season, Fujinami made 64 appearances but struggled on the hill as a relief pitcher.

The 29-year-old went 7-8 with a whopping 7.18 ERA. One of the bright sides is that Fujinami is a flame thrower on the mound. The Japanese native averaged a staggering 98.4 mph on his four-seam fastball. Last season, his hardest-thrown pitch topped out at 102.6 mph.

The problem with Fujinami is his control and command on the mound. In 2023, Fujinami walked 45 batters in just 79 innings. His walk rate was 12.6% which was one of the worst in the majors.

Before coming to the United States to play professionally, Fujinami spent 10 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball. He will become the 15th-born Japanese player to make an appearance for the Mets.

New York has been aggressive in adding arms to the bullpen. Last year, they were ranked 22nd in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.45).

The competition in the bullpen should help the Mets in 2024. In addition, Edwin Diaz is set to return this season. Last year, he suffered a torn patellar tendon which forced him to miss the entire year.

With spring training right around the corner, New York is looking to have a bounce-back season in 2024. The Mets have the third-best odds to win the NL East at +900. They trail the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.

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