There are a lot of questions going into this offseason when it comes to the Chicago Cubs and what they’ll be able to pull off in the months to come. While a lot of reports suggest they will chase after a star shortstop or even a first baseman; one of the main needs for this team will be a front-of-the-line starting pitcher. The Cubs might just have an answer in Japanese superstar right-hander Kodai Senga.
For some time now, Senga’s name been all over the Cubs blogosophere – and while we’d heard Chicago had his name circled on its wish list, a new report out of Japan only adds fuel to that fire.
According to Sanspo in Japan – the Cubs and Red Sox are two teams that will be interested in Senga this winter. Now, obviously, more teams will become interested as we head closer to free agency, but for now, these are the only two clubs mentioned specifically.
Senga recently opted out of his deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan and plans on being posted as a Major League Baseball free agent. Even better news? He won’t be tied to a large posting fee that’s fairly common with NPB players looking to make the jump to the big leagues, which could save Tom Ricketts millions in the end.
Another pretty big development in this story is the agent that Senga signed with. Senga signed with Wasserman, which is currently the agency for both Yu Darvish and Seiya Suzuki; two players who signed with the Chicago Cubs in the past. This should mean that Wasserman and the Cubs front office have pretty good ties with one another.
If Senga were to be posted as a major league free agent, he would join a strong list of pitchers available this offseason, including the likes of Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón as pitchers vying for hefty contracts.
The 30-year-old Senga has gotten nothing but rave reviews from scouts in Japan. This past season he threw 144 innings with a 1.94 ERA while striking out 149 batters. The right-hander has a fastball that can reach up to 102 MPH and has one of the nastiest forkballs you would ever see.
I can only imagine that the Cubs will lay all their cards on the table when pursuing Senga considering their past with Japanese players as well as their dire need for another starting pitcher. If you slide Senga into the Cubs rotation it help makes a pretty solid formidable starting five, even without the anticipated further additions.
Reports will likely ramp up as we get closer to the winter time, but it is a good sign for the Cubs’ chances if they are one of the first teams connected this early into the offseason. MLB free agency begins as soon as the World Series ends, and Senga could become a hot commodity shortly thereafter.