SF Giants miss out on yet another free agent target

Kodai Senga
Kodai Senga / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

With the exception of outfielder Mitch Haniger, who agreed to a three-year, $43.5 million deal the day of Jon Heyman's "Arson Judge" blunder, the SF Giants have mostly heard the same word in response to their best offers to free agents this offseason: "no". From losing out on outfielder Aaron Judge, who re-signed with the New York Yankees, to reliever Kenley Jansen heading to the Boston Red Sox and outfielder Brandon Nimmo remaining with the New York Mets, almost every big name San Francisco has been linked to has denied the team's advances despite them having plenty of money to spend.

Saturday afternoon, Giants brass and the baseball world learned that another free agent in whom they had interest had chosen his destination: Japanese right-handed starting pitcher Kodai Senga decided to become a member of the Mets for the next five seasons.

It was another blow to the Giants' expectations of a big offseason; the franchise was highly interested in picking up a top starting pitcher after left-hander Carlos Rodon declined the option on his contract to go for a bigger deal on the open market. While Rodon is still available, he is reportedly wanting a deal for seven years - which would be a longer contract than Farhan Zaidi has ever given to a pitcher.

SF Giants reportedly interested just days ago

Senga, who MLB insider Heyman mentioned the Giants as suitors for just a few days ago, will turn 30 before the 2023 season begins. In Japan this past summer, he was brilliant for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks: a 1.94 ERA in 22 games, striking out 156 and walking just 49 with seven home runs allowed in 144 innings pitched. He has touched 100 MPH with his fastball and offers three other pitches with the ceiling of a number 2 starter, according to Keith Law of The Athletic (subscription required).

Despite inking future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander to a two-year contract worth over $86 million, the Mets are going to pay Senga $75 million over the five seasons of his deal - at an average of $15 million per year, it's more affordable than some of the other contracts given to journeyman pitchers in the last few weeks and bucks the overall trend of soaring numbers across the sport. Did the Giants have doubts about Senga's ability to have success on this side of the Pacific and offer him less, or did the Giants' lesser chances of competing next season than the Mets - or their inability to woo big names over the years - take the Orange and Black out of the running?