The free-agent starting pitcher market has burst open with the recent signings of Jacob deGrom with the Texas Rangers, and Justin Verlander with the New York Mets. The Chicago Cubs were not believed to be in the sweepstakes for either pitcher and the same can also be said for Carlos Rodon, who is now the best available free-agent starting pitcher on the market. Not far behind Rodon in terms of free-agent starting pitcher rankings is Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga. Senga is making the transition to Major League Baseball and the Cubs were among the early favorites to sign the Japanese standout this offseason. In recent weeks, all has been quiet on the Cubs' front in regard to Senga and that includes this latest tweet from MLB Network Insider Jon Paul Morosi at the Winter Meetings.
The lack of recent connections between the Cubs and Senga does not mean that the team is no longer involved in the market for the 29-year-old starting pitcher but also gives off the impression that they are not at the forefront of his market. Senga may have seen his market escalate at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings as a report out of Japan loosely translates to the starting pitcher nearing a decision after receiving offers from interested teams.
"Senga also traveled to the United States in November, underwent a physical examination in Dallas, Texas, and shared the information with each team. After that, he visited major cities such as San Francisco and Seattle. "- Yahoo! Japan
Interesting enough, the Cubs did not get a mention in the article but it is believed that the team has met multiple times with Senga's agent. It's also worth noting that Cubs' outfielder Seiya Suzuki has actively been attempting to recruit Senga to Chicago.
If the Cubs do lose out on Senga, it remains to be seen where the team will turn to in regard to adding an impact starting pitcher. Free-agent starting pitcher Chris Bassitt is on the team's radar but with him seeking a contract of four years or more, the Cubs may not be willing to meet his asking price.