The Cincinnati Reds have less than $75M of payroll on the books for the 2023 season. With a few non-tenders likely, it’s possible that number drops below $70M before the winter meetings get underway in early December. While no one should expect the Reds to go out and sign Carlos Correa, and I’m sure many people will roll their eyes at the idea that the team is going to spend ANY money this offseason, they will spend some money. How much is one of the big questions. Where they’ll spend it is another as there are plenty of places to try and fill holes on the team.
One interesting free agent that is going to be on the market this offseason is Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga. He’s pitched in parts of 11 seasons in the NPB and posted a 2.59 ERA during his career. The right-handed starter will be 30-years-old next year, so it’s unlikely that he will sign a long-term deal, though he likely will get at least a few years in a contract he signs.
Given his track record, he probably isn’t going to be a cheap sign. But with his age and opinions that he is probably going to be more of a solid, not elite starter, he could be a good option for a team like Cincinnati to help fill out their young rotation with more of a veteran presence.
A 4-pitch starter, Senga’s fastball and splitter are both above-average offerings but his cutter and slider are a bit more fringy. Fangraphs report suggests that perhaps that could leave some teams to try him as a relief option. Still, with four pitches, control, and a track record of plenty of success in Japan, there are going to be teams willing to let him start first and see how things go.
In the 2022 season he was making $5,300,000. He opted out of his contract following the season, so he presumably believes he will get more than that per season. But he’s also stated in the past that he wants to test himself in Major League Baseball, so perhaps it’s not just about making more money.
There will be no posting fee or percentage of the overall contract due from the signing team as Senga has actually reached free agency in Japan, so whatever he signs for is the only money due for bringing him in.
After the team thought it was a good idea to bring in Mike Minor for $10M despite his track record of an ERA over 5.00 in the previous two years, the team could certainly spend the money on a “gamble” of sorts, if you want to call it that, here. With that said, the team has a lot of holes and roles to fill on the roster if they have any plans of being remotely competitive in 2023, too.
It’s a long offseason, and we don’t really know how much money the team is going to spend, but we’re going to look at some of the mid-and-lower tier free agents over the next two months to discuss if and how they will fit within the organization.