A Few of the Teams that Could Sign Koudai Senga This Offseason
Koudai Senga is one of the most underrated free agents of the summer. He has the potential to be an ace within the MLB once he adjusts to the league, but most of the attention regarding free-agent pitchers is focused on Carlos Rodon and Jacob deGrom.
Koudai Senga is a true free agent this summer, and teams will not have to pay a posting fee to sign him. He has been one of the best pitchers in Nippon Professional Baseball over the past several years.
Jed Hoyer has repeatedly stated that the Chicago Cubs want to “spend intelligently” during this offseason. One of the Cubs main priorities is reportedly strengthening the team’s starting rotation.
Last season, multiple Cubs starting pitchers missed significant parts of the season. Those players included Wade Miley and Drew Smyly, who will both become free agents this offseason, and Kyle Hendricks, who made only 16 starts last season.
Koudai Senga is only 29 years old, and could make more sense as a potential free agent for the franchise than Rodon, who is 29 but has dealt with injuries in the past, or deGrom, who is 34.
Last offseason, the Cubs signed Seiya Suzuki, who had an extremely successful first year in the MLB. That could lead Chicago towards signing Koudai Senga.
The Cubs certainly have the financial strength to make a deal with Koudai Senga. He, along with Marcus Stroman, could make a significant impact on the team, which hopes to return to the playoffs next season.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants were one of the other finalists for Suzuki last season, who also came to the MLB from Nippon Professional Baseball. As a result, part of the Giants plan this offseason could be attempting to sign Koudai Senga.
The Giants are likely to lose Rodon to free agency this offseason, unless he agrees to a contract extension. San Francisco is expected to compete to sign other free agents, such as Aaron Judge, this offseason, and if they want to make the playoffs next season, Senga could help them accomplish that goal.
San Francisco’s pitching staff has had success in recent seasons, but the Giants have frequently avoided contracts longer than four or five years with starting pitchers. Another team may offer Koudai Senga a longer contract than that this offseason.
Chris Young, who is the Rangers General Manager, is a former pitcher. The main priority for the Rangers this offseason is likely to be improving the pitching staff after the team signed Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to long-term contracts last offseason and hired Bruce Bochy to be the team’s manager last week.
Senga would help improve a Rangers pitching staff that finished with the fourth-worst ERA in the American League in 2022. It appears Texas will try to compete to reach the playoffs after signing Seager and Semien last offseason and hiring Bochy a few weeks ago.
It is likely that Senga would require the Rangers to make another significant, long-term financial commitment to a player. However, it could make sense for the franchise as multiple of the team’s best prospects are nearing the MLB and both Seager and Semien are currently in the best years of their careers.
The Cubs may be the favorite to sign Senga entering the offseason, but multiple teams will attempt to agree to a contract with him. He may be one of the most underrated free agents in the MLB.