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MLB News and Notes for Monday, December 12th, 2022

Even after the flurry of deals signed during Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings, teams around the league are still actively trying to improve their rosters ahead of February, when pitchers and catchers will report.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest signings and news stories from around the league over the last several days.

Mets Spending Spree Continues

Even after signing Justin Verlander, Edwin Diaz, Jose Quintana, and David Robertson, the New York Mets continue to spend big money trying to improve their club for the upcoming season.

This week, owner Steve Cohen opened up the wallet again as the team has agreed to re-sign outfielder Brandon Nimmo, as well as sign international free agent pitcher Kodai Senga.

For Nimmo, the team agreed to an eight-year deal worth $162 million. That breaks down to roughly $20.25 million per season.

Last season, the 29-year-old Nimmo hit .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs, 64 runs batted in, and 102 runs scored. It is worth noting that in seven seasons with the Mets, this is just the second time that he has played over 95 games in a season, so injuries have been a struggle at times throughout his career.

For Senga, the 29-year-old hurler signed a five-year deal with New York worth $75 million. Last season, in Japan, he went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 144 innings.

Getting his first taste of Major League Baseball, Senga features a fastball that sits in the upper-90s and a splitter, as well as a couple of other pitches.

This now gives the Mets a rotation that consists of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Jose Quintana, and Carlos Carrasco. Last year, the Mets’ pitching staff finished with a team ERA of 3.62 (8th-best in baseball), and they might be even better this year.

Of course, with the Braves winning the division last year and the Phillies playing in the World Series, the NL East should once again be the National League’s toughest division.

Still, at 101-61 last year, the Mets should be one of the best teams in the National League, and their odds reflect this. They currently have the third-best odds of winning the World Series next year at +800.

Having far surpassed the luxury tax threshold, the Mets would sit at almost $400 million in terms of salary when you take into account the penalties they will likely have to pay if they make no other moves.

Blue Jays Bring In Centerfielder

After having traded Teoscar Hernandez earlier in the offseason, it seemed likely that the Toronto Blue Jays would eventually try to bring in a centerfielder for next year, thus moving George Springer to a corner outfield position.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays finally got their guy as they signed Kevin Kiermaier to a deal, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

In 63 games last season, the 32-year-old Kiermaier hit just .228/.281/.369 in 63 games with the Tampa Bay Rays. He also added seven home runs, 22 runs batted in, and 28 runs scored.

Offense has never been Kiermaier’s strongest asset, though, as he is widely considered one of the best defensive outfielders in the game when healthy.

The healthy component has been an issue throughout his career. In fact, since coming into the league in 2013, he has played in over 120 games just three times. In the last three years, he has only exceeded 70 games once.

Still, if he can stay healthy, this will be a strong bump to a Blue Jays defense that ranked 15th in scoring defense last year, allowing 4.23 runs per game to opponents.

Nationals Sign Trevor Williams

In a smaller move, the Washington Nationals have inked right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams to a two-year deal worth $13 million.

Last season, with the Mets, the 30-year-old Williams went 3-5 in 30 games (nine starts). In that span, he had a 3.21 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and he struck out 84 in 89.2 innings.

The Nationals are firmly in the middle of a rebuild, but Williams gives them a veteran that is capable of helping out either as a starter or in the bullpen.

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