Kodai Senga Opts Out To Become Free Agent, To Join MLB Soon?
Japanese Baseball Star Kodai Senga has announced that he will be opting out of his contract this upcoming season with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. This comes after the club and Senga agreed on a 5 year extension back in December. The contract did include a potential opt-out after the first season which Senga seems to be using here.
It was reported back in August that Senga had admiration to play in the MLB. And with this opt-out, it seems like he’s going to pursue said admiration. Senga has been a member of the Hawks since 2012 and since the Hawks don’t post their players for Mlb teams he’s had to wait until he accrued 9 years of service time before being allowed to become a free agent.
Kodai Senga who is set to turn 30 soon has already established himself as one of the best pitchers in Japan. Through 11 seasons he’s tallied 1,089 innings with a 2.59 ERA, 1,252 strikeouts, and only 414 walks. This past season he threw 144 innings to the tune of a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts.
It’s unclear yet if Kodai Senga would be a starter or relief pitcher in the majors. He has outstanding velocity but really only 2 plus pitches which are his fastball and splitter. Leading many people to believe he will be more of a reliever for a team that needs Bullpen help.
While Senga’s age isn’t very desirable. In a free agent class that will see pitchers like Jacob Degrom, Justin Verlander, and Carlos Rodon. Senga could be a very nice cheap and reliable option for a team not wanting to or able to shell out the big bucks.
Another thing that makes him so enticing is that whatever team does decide to sign him wont need to pay the notorious posting fee. This posting fee usually requires an MLB team to pay the Japanese team a certain amount of money depending on the size of the contract. For example, 20% of the contract’s first $25MM, 17.5% of the next $25MM and 15% of any dollars thereafter is the model that is traditionally followed.
So instead a team will only need to pay the agreed-upon amount between themselves and Senga. Which again should make him a much cheaper option for a lot of teams.
It’s unclear if Kodai Senga will even get picked up from an MLB team. But with the success, we’ve seen from Japanese pitchers in the past like Shohei Ohtani. And the fact he will be much cheaper than those who have come before him. I am willing to bet that there’s a team out there willing to give him a shot.