If you’re a big-market team that’s analytically-minded, then you should probably have interest in Japanese free agent ace Kodai Senga.
Senga is reportedly seeking a team that can upgrade his arsenal by remaking his pitch design, and is enthusiastic about learning all the tricks of the trade that have cropped up across MLB in recent years. With that goal in mind, he appears to be on the radar of … basically every forward-thinking and wealthy team in the game.
Thus far, Senga has reportedly been pursued by both the Yankees and Red Sox, has met with both former teammate Yu Darvish’s Padres and Yu Darvish’s former team (the Rangers), and has seen his name show up lit across the San Francisco Giants’ mega-scoreboard.
It seems, based on a little hint dropped on social media, that he’s also made recent contact with the Dodgers — either that, or he wanted to spark a little NL West rivalry.
Senga’s former Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks teammate, outfielder Akira Nakamura, posted a photo on his Instagram story this week featuring an insulated Los Angeles Dodgers tumbler, thanking Senga for the souvenir in the caption.
Dodgers Rumors: Kodai Senga spreading Los Angeles souvenirs?
So … either Senga cares so little for the Dodgers’ overtures that he’s regifting their trinkets, or he’s trying to spread the good word about Andrew Friedman’s pitch. Either very good or very bad! Interesting!
Unbelievably, the Dodgers and their high-powered payroll have gobs of money to offer before they reach the luxury tax threshold, making them among the front-runners for Senga and every single other free agent on the market. With about $100 million of wiggle room to go, LA could add a superstar shortstop, sign Aaron Judge, and still have a significant chunk of change left to woo the Japanese star and make his big-market dreams come true after introducing him to Mark Prior’s wizardry.
If the Dodgers do sign Senga, it’ll be a bit of an upset, though, considering how much smoke there is between the right-hander and the rival Padres.
Yu Darvish’s protégé or — hear us out — international thermos lover?
Perhaps this mug could make all the difference. Or perhaps it’s already in Nakamura’s dishwasher. Regardless, there’s plenty more drinkware where that came from if Senga signs with the Dodgers. And who knows? His contract might even include some money, too.