Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga is an intriguing name on the free agent market, coming over from NPB at age 29 with a fastball that touches 100 MPH. Senga’s agent, Joel Wolfe, recently told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer his client “would like to play in a big market with a team that wants to try and win right now,” which obviously puts the Dodgers in the thick of the action.
Over the weekend, another team that fits that bill emerged as a possible suitor, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
With the Giants looking for rotation help, it isn’t surprising that the club has joined the increasingly lengthy list of teams considering Kodai Senga. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi discussed and praised Senga with reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle) earlier this week, noting that the Japanese right-hander is “very physically talented” and “we’ve heard great things about” Senga on a personal level.
The Giants had very good starting pitching in 2022, but ace Carlos Rodon could be departing in free agency so Senga would be a solid addition for the team. The Dodgers have similar question marks in their rotation, with Tyler Anderson’s future uncertain as he hits free agency after the best season of his career. L.A. has Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and a handful of young starters, but a veteran like Senga must be very intriguing for the team as they build their team for 2023.
Senga has been pitching in NPB since he was 19, posting a 2.42 ERA in 1340.2 innings over 11 seasons. He was 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2022. While his fastball has eye-popping velocity, his splitter is his best pitch, one of the best of its kind in pro baseball on any continent. He also has a plus slider and a plus cutter, a solid four-pitch mix that might not translate to MLB ace, but he would be an excellent addition to a rotation like L.A.’s or San Francisco’s.
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