Japanese star pitcher Kodai Senga expected to consider MLB offers this offseason, report says

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USATSI

Kodai Senga, a right-handed pitcher for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, is expected to weigh offers from Major League Baseball teams this winter, according to Jon Morosi.

Senga, who will turn 30 in January, is an accomplished talent. This season alone, he has amassed a 2.05 ERA and a 3.48 strikeout ratio in 105 innings. For his NPB career, he posted a 2.62 ERA and 3.04 strikeout ratio in over 1,000 innings.

Senga throws a number of pitches, including a pair of breaking balls. His best offerings, however, are his mid-90s fastball and his forkball. The latter is a devastating pitch that has been dubbed the Ghost Fork on Twitter:

Although Senga technically signed a five-year contract with the Hawks last offseason, his contract includes an opt-out that he can exercise this winter. This disposition, along with his age and length of service, would make him a true free agent and not someone who would be subject to the secondment system. The Hawks, for their part, refused to “post” Senga despite his past requests.

“As a baseball player, it’s essential to live my life always aiming higher,” Senga told reporters last winter of his plans to make the trip to the majors. “My thinking about it hasn’t wavered.”

The posting system, for those unaware, is the transfer portal that applies to most players making the jump from NPB to MLB. Players are “posted” by their NPB teams, who then receive compensation based on the player’s eventual contract size. MLB’s international amateur free agent rules still apply to any player under age 25 and with less than six years of service; in other words, these players see their winning potential greatly reduced.

Neal T. Doss