Kodai Senga connections could make Padres favorite for ace SP
The San Diego Padres have not been one to back down from the prospect of an impact free agent signing in the last few years, and that desire to land as many big fish as possible can help them potentially land Fukuoka Softbank Hawks ace Kodai Senga.
Senga is going to be the next big Japanese starting pitcher to cross the Pacific and suit up for a contending MLB team. With the ability to offer him sunny California weather, a long-term contract, and the chance to compete for a championship, the Padres have a lot of factors working in their favor.
San Diego is in the market for starting pitching, as Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea are both free agents, and top prospect MacKenzie Gore was traded to the Nationals in the Juan Soto blockbuster. The Padres are in on Senga, and they think that some of their current players could help sway him.
The Padres have reportedly met with Senga, hoping that his connections with current San Diego players swing him over to their side. Senga and Padres ace Yu Darvish are reportedly very close, and Senga has pitched alongside current Padres Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez in Japan.
Can the San Diego Padres sign Kodai Senga?
Both Martinez and Suarez recently signed new contracts, the latter of which was a hefty five-year deal. While Darvish is currently eyeing an extension he does not have, the expectation is that he and A.J. Preller will get a deal done. Senga and his buddies could stay in San Diego for years to come.
Senga is beyond reproach in Japan for his accomplishments, as he has a 2.42 ERA in 11 years at the top level and has never had an ERA over 3.00 in a season. With a fastball that can touch triple digits and a nasty shutto pitch that will get big league hitters out consistently, Senga will likely make a smooth transition to the pros.
Senga has allowed just nine home runs in his last two seasons, showing that he can keep the ball in the ballpark while still dodging bats thanks to his lethal strikeout stuff. In a park like Petco, Senga would absolutely thrive.
Names like Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, and Hisashi Iwakuma show that ace starters from Japan typically hit the ground running in America more regularly than some of the top hitters. Adding Senga would give the Padres a unique weapon in the rotation that could set them apart when the playoffs come around.