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Free Agent Poll: Kodai Senga

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United States v Japan - Baseball Gold Medal Game - Olympics: Day 15 Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Please, Jays, I need some news. It doesn’t have to be big news (not that I would complain), but something worth talking about. And the minor contract you signed Vinny Capra to doesn’t count.

We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, using the contract FanGraphs suggests and have a poll to see if we would sign him for that amount.

Kodai Senga is number 18 on FanGraphs’ list and #18 on Keith Law’s list.

Senga is coming over from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in the NPB. He turns 30 at the end of January.

He’s played 11 seasons in the NPB, with a 2.85 ERA in 224 games. Last year he had a 1.89 ERA in 144 innings, with 49 walks and 156 strikeouts. I haven’t seen him pitch (besides a couple of innings in the Olympics), but he has a high 90s MPH fastball.

Keith Law says:

Senga finished second in Japan’s Pacific League in ERA, behind only Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the best pitcher in Japan right now, and third in strikeouts, with an 8.6 percent walk rate that’s probably the worst indicator in his stat line from this past season. He throws 100 mph with a plus splitter, while opinions on his slider vary from below-average to just slightly above. He does have a true curveball that looks like it would be at least an average pitch as well. The bigger differences in opinions vary around whether he can start in MLB – his command is below-average, and there are questions over whether he has the kind of feel for working with his stuff that he’d need to turn a lineup over three times here – but between the clear out pitch and his ability to hold velocity deeper into games, I think he’ll at least begin his MLB tenure as a starter.

Ben Clemens says:

While his raw stuff is impressive, there are also reasons for concern. His two-plane fastball doesn’t overpower hitters up in the zone. His feel for breaking pitches comes and goes, which puts a lot of pressure on his splitter in starts where nothing else is landing. As Eric Longenhagen noted to me, there’s some Eovaldi to him; the stuff can look overpowering one day and the repertoire reliever-ish the next.

ZiPS buys what Senga is selling – the system thinks he’ll be in the 3-WAR range next year. That’s a solid projection – and gives more substance to the Eovaldi comp – but I think teams might discount Senga somewhat thanks to uncertainty about his pitch mix and fastball shape. On the other hand, teams won’t have to pay a posting fee, as he’s a true free agent. I think there’s a chance that Senga ends up returning to NPB, but I hope I’m wrong; I’d love to see that splitter in action next year.

Ben thinks he’ll get a four-year, $14 million contract for $56 million in total. It is as good a guess as we are likely to get. He could turn out to be a great MLB starter. Or he could end up a reliever.


Should the Jays sign Kodai Senga if the price is $14 million for four years?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Yes, absolutely
    (353 votes)
  • 22%
    Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about it
    (183 votes)
  • 22%
    Probably no, but I wouldn’t hate it
    (189 votes)
  • 12%
    No, absolutely not
    (102 votes)
827 votes total Vote Now