Mets overpay for ex-Padres starter in questionable free agency move

A former Padres starter got a surprisingly good free agent deal over the weekend.

Oct 4, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) throws a
Oct 4, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Sean Manaea (55) throws a / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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There are times when a team regrets not making a move to sign or keep a player, but there are also plenty of times when passing on a guy is absolutely the right decision. Based on how quiet this offseason has been, the San Diego Padres have to be hoping that they will look like geniuses when the dust settles going into 2024.

Aside from the big name former Padres like Blake Snell and Josh Hader who are still on the market, San Diego has a lot of connections further down the free agent market include Sean Manaea. After Manaea posted a 4.96 ERA in 30 appearances with San Diego in 2022 albeit with some encouraging swing and miss, the Padres passed on bringing him back and the Giants signed him to a two year, $25 million deal with an opt-out after the 2023 season. Manaea rewarded the Giants by having to get shifted to the bullpen and posting yet another mid-4 ERA campaign.

Despite having an admittedly rough go of it the last couple of years, Manaea's stuff ticked up late in the season and he somewhat surprisingly opted out of his deal with San Francisco to hit the open market again. Well, his gambit paid off once again as the Mets snatched up Manaea over the weekend on a two year, $28 million deal.

The Mets gave Sean Manaea $28 million because....reasons

While the Mets clearly don't care about their money the way most people do, this is a very, very speculative signing to put it kindly. Yes, Manaea's sweeper was better and his fastball had some more zip after he made some adjustments last season, but Manaea is still a guy that HAS to fooled hitters with his changeup to be successful. Nothing about his Statcast profile sticks out as particularly exciting beyond his offspeed stuff and extension and neither of those things are going to carry him on their own.

For the Padres, they avoided paying Manaea after 2022 and risking having him permanently turn into a very well paid reliever which is great. As for the Mets, they do need warm bodies that have some level of upside to get them through this transitional period they are in and Manaea qualifies as that. That said, $28 million still seems like a lot to sign a guy like that.

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