Add a pair of American League East teams to the list of potential suitors for Kodai Senga.
The Yankees and Red Sox have made contact with the Japanese ace’s representatives, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Senga has already met with the Mets and Padres, according to The Athletic’s Will Sammon and Dennis Lin.
While simply meeting or making contact can just be a matter of due diligence, it’s clear that Senga is drawing interest on the open market. The 29-year-old righty is an international free agent and does not have to go through the positing process, as he accrued enough service time in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
Senga has spent 11 seasons with NPB’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. He has thrown over 1,000 innings during his time there, registering an 87-44 record, a 2.59 ERA and 1,252 strikeouts thanks to a triple-digits heater and a nasty splitter. Senga has struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings while walking 3.4.
Senga is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA and 1.056 WHIP over 144 innings in 2022. He struck out 156 batters and walked 49.
According to FanGraphs’ scouting report, Senga possesses “incredible arm strength and exploding fastball movement. He also throws enough strikes to start and has four pitches, but neither breaking ball (a low-90s cutter and a low-80s slider) has bat-missing action. His splitter does, though, and the fallback option for Senga is high-leverage relief in which he leans on his fastball and splitter. But Senga's ability to sustain big velo under a starter's workload will probably convince some teams that he can start in the big leagues, and those are the ones likely to offer him the most money.”
Senga is part of a free agent class that includes top starters Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodón.
The Yankees have Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas lined up in their rotation. Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt could be among those who compete for the fifth spot if the Yankees don’t sign another starter.
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