The Los Angeles Angels currently roster the best player in baseball who also just so happens to be Japanese. Shohei Ohtani was signed by the Angels out of Japan and that investment has turned out better than anyone could've expected.
Should the Angels sign another Japanese star to possibly pair with Ohtani at the front of the Angels rotation?
Right-handed pitcher Kodai Senga is expected to file for International Free Agency. The Angels can potentially sign him if he wants to go there.
Should the Angels sign Japanese star Kodai Senga?
Senga is 30 years old and there should be a very competitive market for him. The free agent market for pitchers drops off after Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, and Justin Verlander. There're guys like Chris Bassitt, Clayton Kershaw, and Tyler Anderson who are good but don't have the same ace-level upside that Senga provides.
Senga went 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA in 23 starts this past season. He struck out 9.7/9 while walking 3.0/9. He allowed just seven home runs in 148 innings pitched (0.4 HR/9). The walks might be a tad high but the WHIP (1.041) was low, he struck out a ton of batters, and he rarely allowed home runs.
I believe the Angels should make a play for Senga this offseason for a couple of reasons. First, it's very possible that a Senga signing could convince Shohei Ohtani to stay in Anaheim. That'd be a massive win even if Senga underperforms.
Second, the options are limited in the pitching department. deGrom, Rodon, and Verlander are great pitchers but will be super expensive and all come with risks. Chris Bassitt I think is an excellent option but doesn't provide the ace upside Senga does.
Will Senga turn out to be as good as Ohtani? Probably not. But the potential is there for the 30-year old to be a stud in the MLB. He was dominant throughout his 11-year career in the Japanese league and at 30 years old, might be in his prime right now.