Mets, Kodai Senga finalize 5-year, $75 million contract

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NEW YORK – The active New York Mets and Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga finalized a five-year, $75 million contract.

The deal includes a player opt-out clause after the 2025 season.

Seeking their first World Series title since 1986, the Mets have committed $476.7 million to seven free agents this offseason, adding starting pitchers Senga, Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana, retaining center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz, signing reliever David Robertson and reaching an agreement with catcher Omar Narvaez that is pending a physical.

Senga, a hard-throwing right-hander, did not have to go through the posting system with the Japanese big leagues because he has 11 seasons of service time. Several teams in the United States were said to be pursuing him, including the Boston Red Sox.

“Kodai has been on our radar for a number of years,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in a release.

“Kodai has had exceptional success in his career, including helping lead his team to four consecutive Japan Series titles. We’re thrilled to add someone with his ability to our rotation.”

Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks last season. He tossed three scoreless innings in two outings for Japan against the U.S. in the Olympics last year, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.

“Kodai has a championship pedigree and has excelled on the brightest of stages,” Mets owner Steve Cohen said in a release. “We are very excited to welcome Kodai to our Mets family in Queens.”

Senga, Verlander and Quintana replace the three 2022 Mets starters who became free agents this offseason: Jacob deGrom left for Texas, Taijuan Walker went to Philadelphia and Chris Bassitt signed with Toronto.

The rotation also includes veteran Carlos Carrasco. New York picked up his $14 million option for next season after the 35-year-old right-hander went 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA.

David Peterson and Tylor Megill, both 27, provide depth.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”