I still don’t know what to make of the expected New York Mets offseason. They have Steve Cohen driving the bus, and a $300+ million payroll seems easy enough. But they also have so many key outgoing free agents that simply keeping the band together would push them way over $300 million, much less making any big additions. So who are they really trying to keep? Who are they actually targeting in free agency? Thank goodness they already have their long-term shortstop locked up …
Anyway, one thing we know for sure is that they’re going to be looking at starting pitching. Lots of starting pitching. They have THREE members of their rotation who’ve hit free agency (Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker), and it’s not clear how aggressively they’ll be aiming to retain any or all of them.
Thus, of course they’re in on Kodai Senga. They’ve already met with him, in fact:
We know a number of teams are interested in Senga, whose expected contract is particularly hard to estimate at this point. That he is in the United States taking in-person meetings might suggest that he is hoping to have a good sense of the teams he’s choosing from sooner rather than later, and if so, it’s possible he could be a priority starting pitching target for multiple teams. So they’re waiting on any other moves in the rotation until the Senga situation is more clear.
To that end, I could make an argument that I’m nervous we haven’t heard of Senga doing an in-person visit to Chicago (or with Cubs personnel) yet. Or I could make an argument that it’s no big deal. Or is maybe a good thing. There’s only so much information about this process out there, and much like trying to project his transition to MLB, there’s a whole lot of guesswork involved on the outside.
We’ve only heard, for sure, that he’s visited with the Giants in San Francisco and the Mets in New York, so there are plenty of other interested teams where a meeting has yet to be reported. I *suspect* they will all be reported, but it’s entirely possible one or two fly under the radar. The fact that we’ve only heard about those two may not really mean anything at all.
But if you want to be really optimistic, maybe you tell yourself that Senga is simply saving his Chicago visit for last, because he digs the Cubs already, and wants to be able to mentally compare all of the other teams’ presentations/cities to the Cubs. Thus, in this deeply optimistic case, the Cubs would come last, and then it’s possible they make him a great offer, and he takes it right then.
Yeah. I’ll dream on that.
In the end, I think I would just like to hear about Senga’s picture popping up on the video board at Wrigley Field. I just want to know that the Cubs are giving this opportunity a very serious push. I mean, I want the Cubs to LAND Senga, of course, but a precursor to that is feeling some level of confidence that they are still in aggressive pursuit.
UPDATE: And another one:
With the Padres, you have a clear path to competitiveness, familiarity with a number of teammates, and the slightly closer geographic proximity to Japan. And with the Padres over the luxury tax – thus Qualified Free agents cost them more draft pick compensation than most – Senga could be their best pitching target among those in the upper tier.