MLB Rumors: 3 Top Suitors For Japanese Star Kodai Senga

Last offseason, a Japanese hitting sensation was available for the taking, and the Chicago Cubs went out and signed outfielder Seiya Suzuki to a 5-year, $85M contract. 

Suzuki's countrymate Kodai Senga is available this offseason, and the Cubbies are one of the teams on the list of top suitors for the pitching star. 

Senga had a 1.94 ERA in 2022 for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, with a 156:49 K/BB ratio in 144 innings. In 11 seasons in Japan, he's compiled a 2.59 ERA. He's a five-time Japan Series champion and two-time league strikeout champ. 

Here's a look at his top three potential destinations.

Chicago Cubs

Senga has the same agent as Suzuki, and apparently the Cubs' right-fielder has been courting Senga to Chicago. He's raved about the Windy City to Senga, says agent Joel Wolfe.

“He really loved his experience with the Cubs and living in Chicago,” Wolfe said. “He’s really happy that he chose the Cubs. And I know he’s really looking forward to spring training already.”

As noted, the Cubs are not hesitant to give a Japanese star the benefit of the doubt. 

San Diego Padres

Wolfe also represents the San Diego Padres ace Yu Darvish, another fellow countryman of Senga. Darvish tried to woo Suzuki last season to Southern California, and will undoubtedly try the same thing this year with Senga. 

“Senga’s very open-minded and would like to play in a big market with a team that wants to try and win right now,” Wolff said.

While San Diego might not be as big a market as Chicago, the Padres are clearly in a better position to win in 2023. 

Boston Red Sox

Reports have begun to surface that the Red Sox will be a player for Senga. 

Boston's starting staff is a bit of a mess, with Chris Sale completely unreliable due to ongoing injuries over the past three years, and Nate Eovaldi heading off to free agency. They'll look to replenish with a pitcher like Senga that won't completely break the bank. According to reports, he could be in line for a deal at about $65M over five years.

Other teams said to be in the mix at this point include the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and New York Mets.