Former Padres Pitcher Signs Free Agent Contract With New York Mets

Former Padres Pitcher Signs: Sean Manaea was not the hottest name on the free-agent market, but the former San Diego Padres pitcher finished 2023 stronger than most of his peers.

Now, Manaea will join the New York Mets on a two-year, $28 million contract with an opt-out after the 2024 season. Jon Heyman of the New York Post was first to report the news Sunday.

The Padres acquired Manaea in an April 2022 trade with the Oakland A’s for minor leaguers Adrian Martinez and Euribiel Angeles. He went 8-9 in his only season with the Padres, posting a subpar 4.96 earned-run average across 30 games (28 starts).

Manaea signed with the San Francisco Giants after the season but got off to a slow start in 2023. The 31-year-old left-hander rebounded late in the year, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in September while making four starts and one relief appearance.

Former Padres Pitcher Signs
Former Padres Pitcher Signs

It’s unclear which version of Manaea the Mets are getting, but ostensibly they are banking on the new and improved kind — and not without reason.

Manaea added approximately 3 mph to his four-seam fastball, and a sweeper to go along with his primary secondary offering — a changeup — to become a very different pitcher.

CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa made the case for the new and improved Manaea:

For the bulk of his career with the Oakland Athletics, Manaea was a sinker/changeup pitcher with an occasional slider. He has an entirely new pitch mix now. Manaea is a four-seamer/sweeper pitcher with a third pitch changeup, and he throws harder than ever. The pitcher Manaea is right now is very different from the pitcher he was in 2022, or even at the beginning of 2023.

And thanks to that new pitch mix, Manaea went from a 5.49 ERA in the first half to a 3.43 ERA in the second half, and he struck out 25.7% of the batters he faced. That’s comfortably above the 22.7% league average and matched Manaea’s career best in a full season. He also set a new career best with a 36.4% hard-hit rate allowed. That’s below the 39.2% league average.

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Those are certainly better results than Manaea saw in his lone season with the Padres.

His former teammates can judge for themselves. The Padres visit the Mets in Queens for a three-game series in June, and the Mets visit San Diego for a four-game series in August.

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