The New York Yankees’ top priority in MLB free agency has to be to retain American League home run leader Aaron Judge.
That remains very much questionable with news that Judge is visting with the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Area.
But this isn’t stopping front office head Brian Cashman and Co. from turning over other stones on the open market.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, a quarter of the league, “if not more, has already been in touch” with Japanese sensation Kodai Senga. That includes the Yankees. The 29-year-old starting pitcher is also being linked to the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and aforementioned Giants.
For New York, it’s a necessity to add another starting pitcher to the mix on the open market. They have been linked to reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, too. However, Senga might be a more cost-effective options.
How Kodai Senga would fit in with the New York Yankees
A three-time All-Star selection in Nippon Professional Baseball and a five-time Japan series champion, a transition to MLB should be somewhat seamless for Senga. He was dominant during his time overseas, winning the Gold Glove award and pitching to a 2.75 ERA back in 2020. He performed even better this past season.
- Kodai Senga stats (2022): 1.89 ERA, 159-50 K-BB, 1.04 WHIP across 148 innings
Fresh off a 99-win season, the Yankees have multiple holes to fill in their rotation. Frankie Montas (6.35 ERA, 1.54 WHIP) was a complete and utter disaster after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics ahead of the in-season MLB trade deadline.
Current starter Jameson Taillon is currently a free agent and drawing interest from multiple teams, including a National League contender.
As of right now, ace Gerrit Cole would be joined by Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, Domingo German and the aforementioned Montas in the Yankees’ starting rotation. Simply put, they could use another top-of-the-rotation guy. Hence, New York’s interest in both Senga and Verlander.
Finances could play a role here, too. Verlander is seeking a deal similar to the record-breaking three-year, $130 million contract Max Scherzer is playing under with the Washington Nationals. Senga would obviously come in a lot cheaper, enabling the Bronx Bomers to fill holes at other positions in the process.