The Mets recently sat down with free agent starter Kodai Senga in New York, reports Will Sammon of the Athletic. Andy Martino of SNY first reported earlier this week that New York and Senga’s camp would sit down.
Senga, 30 in January, recently wrapped up his 11th season in Nippon Professional Baseball. He had a 2.59 ERA in over 1000 career innings at Japan’s highest level. Senga’s coming off a particularly excellent platform campaign, working to a 1.94 ERA through 144 frames with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He punched out an above-average 27.5% of batters faced against a manageable 8.6% walk rate.
Evaluators have raised some concerns about Senga’s command and breaking ball, but his combination of an upper-90s fastball and a split-finger offering have drawn plenty of praise. Between his excellent NPB performance and quality raw stuff, he figures to be of interest to virtually every team with a rotation need. The right-hander has already found a wide array of interest as he tests the market in preparation for his jump to Major League Baseball. The Mets join the Giants, Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs, Blue Jays, Mariners and Padres as teams known to be involved in his market to some extent.
The Mets figure to cast a wide net in their search for return help, as the starting staff is facing a high degree of possible turnover. Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker and swingman Trevor Williams all hit the open market — deGrom and Bassitt after declining qualifying offers. Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco are presently the only locks for the season-opening rotation, with David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi and José Butto among the depth options who could get a look. New York is sure to retain or add at least two starters (and quite likely three) from outside the organization over the coming months, and they’ve also been tied to former Dodger southpaw Andrew Heaney.
Senga, it bears remembering, is a true free agent after reaching nine years of service time in Japan. Unlike with players made available a year or more early via the posting system, signing Senga will not require an MLB team to provide any kind of financial compensation to the Hawks.
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