Kodai Senga is amongst the biggest free-agent starting pitchers remaining on the market and the Mets continue to be at the forefront of potential suitors.
According to multiple reports, the Mets were viewed as one of the favorites to sign the 29-year-old right-hander in recent days and are still believed to be in on him despite signing veteran southpaw Jose Quintana to a two-year, $26 million pact on Wednesday.
Senga himself wants to join an organization that can contend for a title now and plays in a big market, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The Mets certainly appear to check both of those boxes.
A 101-win team might have lost Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker — and could potentially see Chris Bassitt and Brandon Nimmo walk in free agency as well — has been plenty active already this offseason. They supplemented the loss of deGrom by signing Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86 million deal to work alongside Max Scherzer.
Adding Senga as a potential No. 3 option to that 1-2 punch would certainly create one of the more imposing trios in baseball.
Senga is making the jump from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, where he went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched last season. He owns a career 2.59 ERA across 11 NPB seasons.
He possesses a fastball that regularly touches the upper 90s and has a “ghost” forkball that is considered one of his fiercest putaway pitches. His slider does need some work as does his control, which can be seen from a walk rate of 3.4 per nine innings in a league that doesn’t have as patient hitters as Major League Baseball does.
Putting him in a rotation alongside Verlander and Scherzer, who have six Cy Young Awards between them, certainly would put him in the right situation to succeed in North America.