Report: Padres meet SoftBank pitcher Kodai Senga after Mets

NEW YORK – The San Diego Padres have met with highly sought Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga, sports news site The Athletic said Friday.

The Senga sweepstakes appear to be heating up as Thursday’s talks with the Padres in San Diego came after The Athletic reported on Senga’s meeting with the New York Mets in New York.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels are reportedly among other suitors for the free agent right-hander, who will turn 30 in January and has an 87-44 career record over 11 seasons, all with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Both the Padres and Mets are attempting to strengthen their starting rotations.

The Padres’ two-year contract with Japanese ace Yu Darvish, who won a team-high 16 games in 2022, expires at the end of next season, while left-hander Sean Manaea has become a free agent.

For the Mets, ace Jacob deGrom has become a free agent, as have Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker, who won 15 and 12 games in 2022, respectively.

Senga had an 11-6 record with a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts over 144 innings in 22 starts this year.