The Kodai Senga sweepstakes is heating up. The San Diego Padres, fresh off of a run to the National League Championship Series this past year, are looking to add to their already-strong pitching staff through MLB free agency- and have met with Kodai Senga in San Diego, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic.
The Padres, who could do with an extra arm in the back end of their rotation, are interested in Kodai Senga, who is close friends with San Diego ace right-hander Yu Darvish.
Coincidentally enough, Senga also played with Padres pitchers Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez, each of whom just inked deals to return to San Diego.
Senga, 29, has spent 11 seasons pitching for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. The right-hander is small in stature at 6-foot and 178 pounds- at least by MLB pitcher standards- but he makes up for it with a large arsenal on the mound and ace-like stuff.
Senga is capable of throwing five pitches, though he primarily relies on three pitches, an upper-90s fastball, a wicked splitter/forkball- nicknamed the “Ghost Fork” for its dastardly movement- and a curveball.
With those offerings, Kodai Senga made a career out of baffling hitters in Japan, as he recorded a 2.59 ERA in 1,089 innings pitched, sending a whopping 1,252 hitters back to the dugout by way of the strikeout.
Senga would fit right in with the Padres' staff, which ranked seventh in the league in punchouts. Given that Senga exercised an opt-out in his Hawks contract, he will not be subject to normal posting rules for players coming from Japan.
That, the prospect of teaming him up with friends, and stealing him from the Dodgers, should make him a very desirable target for the Padres.