Kodai Senga is a name that has appeared on some New York Mets rumor mills this offseason, and the Mets need him in Flushing in 2023 and beyond if the Mets want to remain a World Series contender. Senga was posted to international free agency several weeks ago and would represent an upgrade over what the Mets currently have in their pitching staff.
Mets free agent target Kodai Senga is dependable and reliable.
With the Mets’ rotation depth an uncertainty in 2023, especially with Jacob deGrom out of the equation, the Mets need someone who can eat up a lot of quality innings, and Senga can provide just that. In each of his last eight seasons, he has won 10 or more games and pitched more than 100 innings. In 2022, he pitched to a 1.89 ERA in 148 innings over 23 starts, averaging more than six innings per start. That would be huge for a club that has plenty of holes in their bullpen like the Mets.
Senga brings a filthy arsenal to the mound, headlined by his “ghost fork.”
Japanese pitchers have been successful in the majors if their splitters are effective, and Senga’s splitter acts like a forkball, or a "ghost fork" according to scouts, and his had an average velocity of 85 miles per hour. It makes a difficult pitch for opposing hitters because of the shear movement of the ghost fork. The forkball gave Asian-born pitchers like Hideo Nomo and Chien-ming Wang a lot of success in the majors, and his look and feel on the mound appear like that of those former All-Stars.
Elsewhere, his fastball averages 97 miles per hour, and it peaked at 101.9 mph last season. He has also cut down on his walks over the past two seasons, going from four walks per nine innings three years ago to three last season.
The starting pitching market is thin this year in free agency.
There was a top tier of free agent rotation headliners in deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Rodon (the Mets are determined to bring aboard either Verlander or Rodon after deGrom left) and then one could draw a line for everyone else, including Chris Bassitt, someone the Mets would love to bring back. Senga provides great value for anybody and probably wouldn’t cost as much as any of the others because he hasn’t pitched in Major League Baseball yet.