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Giants emerge as possible suitor for Japanese ace Senga

The Giants prefer to remain cautious in their search for free agents, but they may have given an inadvertent hint about his pitching pretensions.

Reporter Marc Delucchi, editor-in-chief of Giants Baseball Insider, was driving through San Francisco on November 12 when he saw a graphic of Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga and his number 41 flashing on the Oracle Park scoreboard.

Were the Giants hosting the Japanese professional baseball star or just practicing for a future visit?

“We’re going to have to start putting up a tent in our stadium every time we put something on the big screen,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi recently quipped. “I think that’s the only official comment you’re going to get from me on that.” Good research Marc. We’ll have to be a little more careful with that if we don’t find a tent big enough to cover the stadium.”

Senga, who turns 30 in January, filed for international free agency on Oct. 31 and is expected to seek a major league contract this offseason after posting a 2.59 ERA in 11 seasons with the Fukuoka Softbank Falcons. .

With a 101 mph fastball and an effective splitter, Senga has struck out 1,252 batters in 1,089 innings in NPB, where he also threw a no-hitter in 2019. He went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 appearances this year. , racking up 156 strikeouts in 144 innings.

The Giants have a big hole in their rotation now that Carlos Rodón is a free agent, so expect them to be in the market for at least one other starter this winter. If San Francisco can’t re-sign Rodon, Senga could be an interesting alternative, especially since he wouldn’t be subject to the posting fees.

“He’s obviously one of the best pitchers and players in Japan,” Zaidi said. “He’s had a long track record of success there. He’s pitched in the World Baseball Classic, so he’s had a little taste of the competition here. We continue to do our work and due diligence on him and other starting pitchers in the market with us. having an opening in our rotation.

“Carlos Rodón is part of those conversations. Anytime you have an elite pitcher who throws as hard as he does and comes with interesting secondary weapons, you’re going to get a lot of interest from major league teams, which is what seems to be his market.”

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