Last winter's signing of Seiya Suzuki or their success with helping Yu Darvish get his career back on track lend themselves to a Kodai Senga pursuit this offseason, but the Cubs, by no means, can be viewed as the frontrunner in this very crowded race.
According to The Athletic, Senga met with Mets representatives this week. New York, of course, is facing big-time holes in its rotation, including Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. The bullpen needs attention, as well, even after bringing back Edwin Diaz on a lucrative record-setting contract.
Cubs face stiff competition when it comes to Kodai Senga
As we all know, Mets owner Steve Cohen spends like he's playing with Monopoly money. If he decides Senga is the guy he wants, it'll be a tall task to outbid him, especially with the Cubs focused on their 'intelligent spending' approach. But Chicago's competition for the standout Japanese right-hander goes far beyond the deep pockets of the Mets.
New York and Chicago are joined by the likes of the Mariners, Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Padres when it comes to Senga. Texas, like the Mets, has also been linked to deGrom - so it's safe to assume it'll be an either/or approach for those teams, rather than adding both.
Of course, deGrom will carry a price tag well beyond (at least in terms of AAV) what Senga will. Fangraphs pegs the latter for a four-year, $60 million pact, while Fangraphs' Ben Clemens has deGrom raking in $47 million a year for three years. At least in my mind, there's no chance the Cubs are in on deGrom, but the price tag for Senga, even if Chicago has to go a bit above that estimation to separate themselves from the pack, is very palatable given his upside and stuff.
In more than 1,000 NPB innings, we're talking about a guy who has a sub-3.00 ERA. Even with the adjustment to MLB hitters, there's plenty of cause for optimism here. His stuff - headlined by a triple-digit fastball and wipeout splitter - have drawn wide-ranging praise from scouts and would be a welcome addition to the Cubs rotation.