Offseason acquisition Justin Verlander has been placed on the New York Mets injured list with a low grade muscle strain near his pitching shoulder.

The Mets made the announcement on Thursday, the Opening Day of the 2023 MLB season, citing a "low grade teres major strain" with the 40-year-old reigning Cy Young Award winner to be reevaluated next week.

Verlander will be able to continue to throw at "moderate intensity" in the meantime, with the pitcher seeking treatment on the issue after Wednesday's bullpen session where his velocity fell.

"This isn't best-case scenario," Verlander told reporters in Miami where he was scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Marlins. "But I would think this is probably second-best case. Very minimal."

The 2022 World Series champion, who crossed from the Houston Astros in the offseason, said the issue had been lingering.

"Looking back, it's something that was lingering, but it's spring training and it's very normal to work through stuff, so I didn’t give it much credence," Verlander said. "I just thought it was something I was working through. My last start was able to go out and pitch through that, so I got over that hurdle.

"In my bullpen yesterday, I still felt a tiny bit of something. When I looked back, when I thought I was over it and still felt something, I connected the dots and my velocity was down a bit in my last start.

"That was the main thing where I was like 'well something's going on to cause my velocity to be down one or two miles an hour'.

"I've dealt with a lat [lateral injury] before a couple times in my career. It's not something to mess around with at all. I missed three months one time. In my mind it was to be prudent and smart and get it looked at."

Verlander finished 18-4 in a near career-best 2022 season, posting a 1.75 ERA in 175 innings for the Astros. He joined the Mets after they lost Jacob deGrom in a free agency move to the Texas Rangers.

The right-hander watched on from the dugout as the Mets opened their season on Thursday with a 5-3 win over the Marlins.

Coming off arguably the most entertaining World Baseball Classic ever, the 2023 Major League Baseball season promises to deliver yet again as 30 teams battle it out for two World Series spots.

Reigning champions the Houston Astros wrote themselves into the record books last season by reaching the American League Championship Series for the sixth consecutive year, and while they may have lost their Cy Young Award winner, they have re-tooled and will expect strong development from their cast of young stars.

While they are the deserved favourites, the San Diego Padres and New York Mets have pushed all their chips into the middle and are in World Series-or-bust mode, joining the New York Yankees as the league's three most expensive payrolls.

The World Baseball Classic showed its not only the United States where the talent lies, but Japanese fans in particular will be keeping an extra close eye on proceedings as superstar Shohei Ohtani looks to take home his second AL MVP and Masataka Yoshida and Kodai Senga enter the rookie ranks.

With plenty of interesting storylines to choose from, it only makes sense to start with the kings of the castle.

Astros remain the team to beat

On their way to the 2022 World Series title, the Astros advanced to the final four teams for the sixth consecutive season. 

It is the second-longest streak in MLB history, only bettered by the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s as they did it on eight consecutive tries, although there was a one-year gap in the middle due to the 1994 playoffs being cancelled in the strike season.

This sustained period of excellence has been led by future Hall-of-Famer Jose Altuve and a strong supporting case of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, as well as former star Carlos Correa and the future of the franchise Yordan Alvarez, while their starting pitching has been almost unmatched.

In 2022, Houston had two pitchers finish top-five in AL Cy Young Award voting with winner Justin Verlander and fifth-placed Framber Valdez, and while the former has left, they also unearthed high-upside rotation pieces Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia.

Add in their dominant bullpen, led by Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly, as well as the best rookie in the last season's playoffs – Jeremy Pena – and the free agent signing of former MVP Jose Abreu, and this Astros team does not figure to be going anywhere.

Will the Padres or Mets be able to spend their way to a title?

The Mets boast the most expensive team in the sport this season, with a combined payroll of $357million – $75m more than their cross-town rivals, the second-placed Yankees ($272m).

They have taken some significant risk by committing a combined $86.6m to their two ageing aces as 38-year-old Max Scherzer and 40-year-old Verlander take home $43.3m each, but with six Cy Young Awards between them, it is likely to be money well-spent.

The Mets will be hurt by losing star closer Edwin Diaz for the season after tearing up his knee celebrating a WBC win with Puerto Rico, but they have 28-year-old slugger Pete Alonso on a bargain deal as he enters his final years of arbitration before an inevitable monstrous extension.

Meanwhile, the Padres come in at the third-most expensive team at $249m, and while they do not have the Hall of Fame-level talent leading their pitching rotation like the Mets, they may have the best batting line-up in the game.

Their four All-Stars leading the way – Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto and Manny Machado – could all have MVP-calibre seasons, and they give the Padres a real chance at being this season's highest-scoring team.

Can anybody deny Ohtani his second MVP?

If he was not already the biggest star in the sport, Ohtani's brilliant performance in guiding Japan to their third World Baseball Classic cemented his status as the top dog.

An All-Star designated hitter with 80 home runs across the past two seasons – a total that has only been exceeded by Aaron Judge (101) and tied by Vladimir Guerrero Jr (80) – Ohtani also emerged as one of the sport's most dominant pitchers in 2022.

His 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings was just 0.1 behind league-leader Carlos Rodon (12.0), while also posting the sixth-best ERA (2.33) among qualifying starters.

It is the kind of two-way dominance not seen at this level since Babe Ruth, and it took a historic season from Aaron Judge to deny Ohtani his second consecutive MVP.

Judge finished with 16 more home runs than any other player, breaking the American League and New York Yankees single-season record while also posting a gaudy batting average of .311 as he flirted with a Triple Crown.

If he can replicate that kind of season, he will prove he really is one of the greatest hitters of his generation and will likely earn the recognition again, but the overwhelming likelihood is some regression from the Bronx bomber.

Even with Judge's fine campaign, voters still viewed it as a neck-and-neck race with Ohtani as his combined value as essentially two All-Stars in one roster spot makes his argument almost infallible – especially if his Los Angeles Angels finally make the playoffs.

As long as he can remain healthy, expect Ohtani to lift his second AL MVP as he heads into perhaps the most anticipated free agency in American sports since LeBron James' move to Miami.

Will new Red Sox signing and WBC star Yoshida be the top rookie?

A bevy of super-talented American prospects including Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll are expected to emerge as top talents this season – but no rookie should have higher expectations than Boston Red Sox signing Yoshida.

Yoshida, 29, is a four-time All-Star in Japan's top professional league, and boasts a career batting average of .327 with 133 home runs in his six seasons with the Orix Buffaloes.

The Red Sox ended up the highest bidder for his services, forking out a five-year contract worth $90million, on top of a $15.4m posting fee to the Buffaloes, and they were given a sneak peek at the World Baseball Classic.

En route to Japan's third title – while no other country has more than one – Yoshida earned a spot on the All-Classic team by breaking the RBI record with 13 in seven games, while slashing .409/.531/.727 and hitting a pair of home runs.

He is not the only Japanese veteran trying to make his mark as a rookie this season, as 30-year-old New York Mets starting pitcher Senga will have every opportunity to become a star after signing a five-year, $75m deal with one of the most-watched teams in baseball.

New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz is expected to miss the entire MLB season after suffering a serious knee injury while celebrating a Puerto Rico win in the World Baseball Classic.

Diaz left the field in a wheelchair after injuring his right knee while celebrating Wednesday's win over the Dominican Republic, with his team-mates visibly upset by the incident.

On Thursday, the Mets revealed Diaz – who penned a five-year, $102million contract with the team in the offseason – had undergone surgery after sustaining a complete patellar tendon tear.

"Edwin Diaz underwent successful repair of the patellar tendon in his right knee today," read an update from the team. "He is expected to begin a formal rehab program in about a week."

Earlier on Thursday, Mets general manager Billy Eppler suggested the closer – widely considered to be the best in the game – could be sidelined for around eight months, a timeline which would rule him out for the entire 2023 season.

Eppler noted some athletes have returned from similar injuries within a six-month timeframe, but added such cases were "more the exception than the rule".

Diaz took to social media to update his fans after the surgery, writing on Twitter: "To all my beloved fans, especially the Mets fans, I want to let you know that I am doing well and healing. 

"I feel blessed and grateful for your support with messages and prayers, thank you very much!  I can't wait to see you guys in NY again and play those trumpets."

Celebrations for Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic turned sour when pitcher Edwin Diaz hurt his knee after their victory against the Dominican Republic.

The New York Mets closer – widely considered to be the best in the game – eliminated the favourites for the competition as he struck out Teoscar Hernandez to complete a 5-2 victory.

In the ensuing celebrations, the players were jumping in a huddle before stopping once it became apparent that Diaz was injured.

His brother, Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz, was in tears as medics attended to him, helping the 28-year-old from the field.

According to ESPN, the 28-year-old will undergo an MRI on Thursday, with sources fearing "the injury could keep Díaz out for a significant period".

"I didn't see it right away," Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina said. "I was hugging our coaches in the dugout, and when we looked up, Edwin was on the ground.

"I didn't know. I didn't know how to act, I didn't know what to say. It caught me by surprise. It sucks. When you see a guy that works so hard like Edwin, when you see him on the ground like that, it's just sad."

Center fielder Enrique Hernandez added: "It wasn't pretty much until we got to the infield dirt that we realised something had gone wrong.

"At the moment we didn't know who it was. When we got there, that's when we realised who it was. Obviously, aside from being the best closer in the game right now, and being a huge part of this team, [Diaz] is one of the glue guys in that clubhouse."

The Minnesota Twins have finalised their contract agreement with Carlos Correa, ending a month-long saga in which the star shortstop reached deals with two other teams that were held up due to medical concerns. 

Minnesota announced on Wednesday that Correa has passed a physical, and the team scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. ET to formally announce the re-signing. 

MLB.com reports the contract to be for six years and $200 million and includes four vesting option years that can make the deal worth an additional $70 million. 

Correa exercised an opt-out clause in the three-year, $105 million contract he signed with Minnesota last March and originally agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants on December 13. The Giants pulled out of the agreement a week later, however, over concerns about an ankle injury Correa sustained in 2014.

The 28-year-old then reached a 12-year, $315 million agreement with the New York Mets, who also raised concerns about Correa's surgically repaired ankle following a physical exam and attempted to revise language in his contract.

Correa's agent, Scott Boras, restarted talks with other teams last week as the impasse with the Mets remained, which allowed the Twins to re-enter the picture and ultimately work out the largest free-agent contract in team history. 

In 136 games for the Twins in 2022, Correa hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs with 70 runs scored.

The two-time All-Star and 2021 Gold Glove winner spent his first seven MLB seasons with the Houston Astros after being picked first overall in the 2012 draft and was named the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year.

A career .279 hitter and key contributor to Houston's 2017 World Series championship team, Correa has 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games.

The New York Mets are considering ending their pursuit of Carlos Correa as an impasse continues in contract talks between the team and the star shortstop’s camp, according to a report from New York sports television network SNY.

Correa and the Mets had agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract on December 21, shortly after the San Francisco Giants pulled out of a 13-year, $350m agreement with the two-time All-Star over concerns about a previous ankle injury.

The Mets also raised issues about Correa’s surgically repaired ankle following a physical exam which has since held up that deal as well, and Friday’s report stated the team remains 'frustrated' in its attempts to revise contract language to the point it’s contemplating walking away altogether.

The New York Post reported Thursday that Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, has restarted discussions with other teams while remaining in contact with the Mets. Sirius XM MLB Radio Network analyst Jim Bowden announced on Friday that Correa’s former team, the Minnesota Twins, have re-entered talks with the 28-year-old still unsigned.

According to the New York Post report, a source within the Mets organisation said the team was still optimistic it could reach an agreement.

Correa signed a three-year, $105m contract with the Twins shortly after last offseason’s lockout ended in March, with the deal containing an opt-out clause after one year that was ultimately exercised.

The 2015 American League Rookie of the Year hit .291 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 136 games for Minnesota last season.

Correa spent his first seven MLB seasons with the Houston Astros, who selected the Puerto Rico native first overall in the 2012 draft, and was a core part of that team’s run to the 2017 World Series title. He is a career .279 hitter with 155 home runs and 553 RBIs in 888 games.

The New York Yankees have hired former Mets general manager Omar Minaya as a senior advisor to baseball operations.

Minaya is the second former general manager to join the Yankees front office this week. The team hired onetime San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean on Tuesday to work as an executive advisor to GM Brian Cashman.

The 64-year-old Minaya served as GM of the Mets from 2004 to 2010 after becoming Major League Baseball's first Hispanic general manager when he held that role for the Montreal Expos from 2002 to 2004.

Minaya returned to the Mets in 2017, following a three-year stint as an advisor for the MLB Players Association, as an assistant to then-GM Sandy Alderson.

He left that post following the 2020 season but was rehired by the organisation in 2021 as a team ambassador.

The New York City native also worked as the San Diego Padres' vice-president of baseball operations from 2011 to 2015 and spent the 2022 season as an amateur scouting consultant for MLB.

Minaya is the third former general manager currently employed by the Yankees. Former Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been with the club since 2012 as a special assignment scout.

San Francisco Giants executive Farhan Zaidi confirmed it was a "difference of opinion on the medical review" that caused the franchise's $350million free agent deal with Carlos Correa to fall apart.

Correa, 28, sent shockwaves through the league when he agreed to a 13-year free agent deal with the Giants, only for the signing to be called off three hours before the scheduled introductory press conference.

With San Francisco off the table, Correa and agent Scott Boras moved on to the New York Mets, agreeing to a 12-year, $315m contract – which has still not been finalised as they tackle the same medical issues that scared away the Giants.

In his first interview since the debacle, Zaidi made an effort to insist those risks are simply a part of the free agent game.

"I was on the phone with Scott Boras on the Monday that we did Carlos' physical right when his plane landed," he said. "So any suggestion that this was an 11th-hour thing is just not accurate.

"As soon as we had information, we shared it. We have a good working relationship with Scott Boras and his agency."

Zaidi confirmed the Giants and Correa's camp had "a difference of opinion on the medical review" – with ESPN's reporting adding that it is regarding an ankle injury and subsequent surgery on the issue back in 2014.

The Giants were also considered the favourites to land the top free agent on the market, but reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge shunned them to return to the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360m deal.

As a result, Zaidi himself became a target online of disgruntled Giants fans, and he admitted that is hard to get use to.

"It's always a little jarring when you open up your Twitter app just to see what's happening in the world and your name is trending," he said. "That's generally not a good thing.

"At the end of the day I understand it comes with the territory. We have fans that really care, really are invested in this team and at the end of the day our job is to just put a compelling, fun team to watch on the field.

"This is baseball, I feel really fortunate to be in this job, I love it. I love the responsibility that comes with it, and part of my responsibility when things don't go your way is to support and lift other people up and not dwell on the negatives."

The Giants ended up addressing their outfield need with former Seattle Mariner Mitch Haniger on a three-year, $43.5m deal, as well as New York Mets left-handed bat Michael Conforto for two years and $36m.

The New York Mets reportedly harbour concerns regarding Carlos Correa's physical, potentially throwing their 12-year, $315million agreement with the star shortstop into doubt.

Earlier this week, free agent Correa appeared set to join the San Francisco Giants after reportedly agreeing a 13-year, $350m contract with the franchise.

The Giants were set to make their agreement with the two-time MLB All-Star public on Tuesday, only for the news conference to be postponed amid reports of a medical issue arising during Correa's physical.

That delay allowed the Mets to swoop for Correa, with team owner Steve Cohen subsequently telling The New York Post a deal was close to being finalised.

"We need one more thing, and this is it," Cohen said. "This was important. This puts us over the top."

However, Correa could now see a second move collapse in quick succession after a report from The Athletic claimed the Mets are concerned about his surgically repaired lower right leg.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a fractured right fibula and minor ligament damage at the age of 19 in 2014.

The report said the Mets have reservations about Correa's long-term fitness, while acknowledging Cohen's public statements on the progress of the deal could make it difficult for them to withdraw entirely.

The New York Post's baseball columnist Jon Heyman said both parties were trying to "work it through".

Correa has made seven trips to the injured list since 2015, with a torn ligament in his thumb, lower back soreness and a fractured rib.

If the Mets were to perform a remarkable U-turn on their decision to pursue Correa, it would represent a severe blow for a player who has only played at least 150 games in a season once in his eight-year career.

Carlos Correa's proposed deal to join the San Francisco Giants collapsed due to a "difference of opinion", a team statement said on Wednesday.

Having agreed a 13-year, $350 million contract last week, the Giants cancelled a proposed press conference on Tuesday to announce the signing – with reports stating this was due to a medical issue.

While it was suggested the deal would still be finalised, the delay allowed the New York Mets to swoop and a slightly shorter 12-year, $315 million agreement was reached to bring Correa to New York, according to the New York Post.

The Giants have now had their say in the remarkable sequence of events in a brief statement, where President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi confirmed the deal ended due to a "difference of opinion" that arose following a physical evaluation.

"While we are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information, as Scott Boras stated publicly, there was a difference of opinion over the results of Carlos’ physical examination. We wish Carlos the best," the statement read.

With seven trips to the injured list since 2015, Correa has dealt with durability issues in his eight-year career and has played at least 150 games in a season just once.

However, Correa played 58 games in the shortened 60-game season in 2020, followed by 148 in 2021 and 136 last season.

Boras, Correa's agent, spoke to The Athletic on Wednesday and dubbed the medical concerns "speculative dynamics": "You're talking about a player who has played eight major-league seasons. There are things in his medical record that happened decades ago. These are all speculative dynamics.

"Every team has a right to go through things and evaluate things. The key thing is, we gave them [the Giants] medical reports at the time. They still wanted to sign the player and negotiate with the player."

Carlos Correa has agreed to instead join the New York Mets after confirmation of his deal with the San Francisco Giants was delayed.

The Giants looked to have secured their franchise shortstop with the signing of the former Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins star to a 13-year, $350million contract in free agency.

That agreement was set to be made public on Tuesday, only for the news conference to be postponed amid reports of a medical issue arising during Correa's physical.

It was suggested the deal would still be finalised, only for the Mets to swoop and agree terms with Correa that were reported early on Wednesday.

A slightly shorter 12-year, $315m contract – no longer tying Bryce Harper for the longest free-agent deal in MLB history – is to take Correa to New York, according to The New York Post.

"We need one more thing, and this is it," Mets owner Steve Cohen told the publication. "This was important. This puts us over the top. This is a good team. I hope it's a good team!"

It is said the Mets will use Correa at third base, with good friend Francisco Lindor continuing at shortstop.

This deal, like the pact with the Giants, is subject to a physical.

Correa has dealt with durability issues during his eight-year career, playing at least 150 games in a season just once.

He has made seven trips to the injured list since 2015, with a torn ligament in his thumb, lower back soreness and a fractured rib.

However, Correa played 58 games in the shortened 60-game season in 2020, followed by 148 in 2021 and 136 last season.

Center-fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the New York Mets after agreeing to an eight-year, $162million contract extension.

After the New York Yankees retained American League home run champion Aaron Judge, Nimmo had been widely considered the best remaining outfielder in free agency.

Nimmo, 29, has become a staple in the Mets' outfield, starting 148 games in center field last season while batting .274 with 16 home runs, 30 doubles and seven triples.

His 159 hits, 102 runs scored and 64 RBI in 2022 were all personal bests, while he sports a career average of .269 with an .827 OPS.

Coming off a 101-win season, the Mets have already had an offseason full of blockbuster deals.

Ace Jacob deGrom left the Mets to join the Texas Rangers on a deal that could be up to six years and $222m, while Taijuan Walker is headed to the rival Philadelphia Phillies for $72m over four years.

The Mets responded by filling those holes in the rotation with reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana on two-year deals.

In the bullpen, the Mets retained star closer Edwin Diaz on a five-year, $102m contract, and reliever David Robertson will return on a one-year, $10m deal.

The Philadelphia Phillies added a former All-Star to their starting pitching rotation on Tuesday when Taijuan Walker signed on the dotted line for a four-year, $72million free agent contract.

Walker, 30, spent the past two seasons with the New York Mets, earning an All-Star selection in 2021, before improving his numbers this year.

The former Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks starter tailed off badly in his All-Star season, going on to post an ERA of 4.47 in his 29 starts, but rebounded strongly.

This year he boasted an ERA of 3.49 in 29 starts, while his 2.6 walks-per-nine-innings was his best figure since 2016. His 15 home runs allowed were also his lowest of any season he has pitched at least 100 innings.

Walker will join a rotation already featuring 2021 NL Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Wheeler, as well as this season's fourth place for the award Aaron Nola, giving the reigning NL champions one of the strongest units in the majors.

Days after losing one two-time Cy Young Award winner to free agency, the New York Mets have bolstered their rotation by signing a three-time Cy Young Award winner.

Justin Verlander has agreed to two-year, $86million contract with the Mets. The deal, which was reported on Monday, includes a vesting third-year option.

The signing reunites Verlander with former Detroit Tigers team-mate and fellow three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and helps the Mets fill a spot in the rotation after Jacob deGrom signed a five-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Friday.

Verlander helped the Houston Astros to the 2022 World Series title and the Mets are hoping he can help the franchise to their first championship since 1986.

He will turn 40 years old in February but is still one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.

Despite missing the entire 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Verlander was the unanimous winner of his third Cy Young Award in 2022 after leading the majors with a 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, while going 18-4 with 185 strikeouts to 29 walks in 28 starts.

A nine-time All-Star, Verlander captured his first Cy Young Award in 2011 – a season in which he also won the AL MVP. He also won the 2019 AL Cy Young Award, as well as the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year Award.

For his career, Verlander is 244-133 with 3,198 strike outs, ranking first in both wins and strikeouts among active pitchers.

Verlander's historically fared well against NL East opponents, which bodes well for the Mets, as he has posted a 2.14 ERA against those teams in his career – his lowest ERA against any division. His career ERA is 3.24.

In four starts against NL East clubs last season, he went 4-0 without giving up a run over 25 innings, while striking out 26. 

The Texas Rangers have not been shy about spending money recently, and that continued Friday as they agreed to a five-year, $185million contract with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.

DeGrom, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the New York Mets, is perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy.

His career 2.52 ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

"We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

"Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."

This blockbuster move comes just before baseball's winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

"It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need," Young said. "He's a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he's going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans."

DeGrom, however, has been limited to 26 starts and 156-and-a-third innings over the past two seasons due to elbow, forearm and shoulder blade injuries. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

"We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that," Young said. "And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob's caliber."

The Rangers have spent nearly $761m in free agency over the past year, including massive contracts last offseason to shortstop Corey Seager ($325m, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175m, seven years). The moves didn’t pay off, though, as they finished 68-94 for their sixth consecutive losing season.

Texas responded by hiring three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as their new manager in October.

DeGrom didn’t make his season debut this past season until August, and went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts. After helping the Mets reach the playoffs, he passed up a $30.5m salary for 2023 and opted out his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

DeGrom won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

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