The longstanding rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox could add a new chapter this offseason, as both teams are reportedly chasing one of the most prominent free agents on the market.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Monday that the Yankees and Red Sox "made contact" with the representatives for Japanese pitcher Koudai Senga. Morosi added that Senga's marketplace has "broadened" because a team won't have to pay a posting fee or give up draft pick compensation to sign him.
The New York Mets and San Diego Padres have reportedly also been in touch with Senga's representatives, and the San Francisco Giants have been linked to him as well. He posted a 1.94 ERA in 2022 while pitching for Nippon Professional Baseball's Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. The 29-year-old has an impressive fastball-splitter combination that has MLB teams itching to add him to their starting rotations.
The Red Sox are coming off a last-place finish in the AL East with a 78-84 record. It was a disappointing showing for a team coming off a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2021.
The Yankees (99-63) finished with the second-best record in the AL and reached the ALCS, but they were disappointingly swept by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros.
Both the Yankees and Red Sox are seeking pitching improvements and have openings on their staffs. New York starter Jameson Taillon is a free agent, as is Boston veteran Nathan Eovaldi. This year's free-agent class is full of talented starters who could lead any rotation, including 2022 AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón, among others.
The arms race between the Yankees and Red Sox is worth watching as they seek better showings in 2023.