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BCB After Dark: Import or domestic?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks if you’d rather have Carlos Rodón or Kodai Senga pitch for the North Siders next year.

United States v Japan - Baseball Gold Medal Game - Olympics: Day 15 Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the secret happening for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We hope you had a good weekend and that the start of your week is going well. We’re glad to see you join us here tonight. Please let us check your umbrella and rain gear if you’re coming from the (not) game tonight. There’s no cover charge. Free appetizers for anyone who can show a ticket stub from the (not) playoff game in the Bronx. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

After everyone waited around for a long time, tonight’s decisive Game 5 of the Yankees/Guardians American League Division Series was postponed. They’ll play it tomorrow afternoon (or today if you’re reading on Tuesday) and the winner will have to immediately get on a plate to Houston to play a rested and ready Astros team.

Last week I asked you what you think will happen to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras this off-season. Fully 63 percent of you think Willson has played his final game for the Cubs and that he will sign with another team this winter. Twenty percent of you think he’ll take the qualifying offer and 17 percent think the Cubs will re-sign him to a new deal.

Here’s the part where I talk about movies and jazz. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

It’s that time of year where we start to focus on holiday music, so tonight we have a selection from vocalist and pianist Patricia Barber from her 1999 album, Companion. It’s a jazz version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman” with Barber signing and playing the organ.

(Yes, I know that most of you are going to say that “Black Magic Woman” is by Santana, but that US hit version is actually a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song written by Peter Green. This was long before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined that group.)

I’ve mostly been watching playoff baseball and soccer over the past week. I did watch the original Japanese Godzilla film with my Japanophile daughter and I watched the original The Invisible Man from 1933, directed by James Whale and starring Claude Rains. Other than a brief cameo in a British silent film over a decade earlier, it was Rains’ film debut—and we don’t even see him until the final shot of the movie. (We see him wearing clothes and prancing around. But he’s invisible, you know.) It also has Gloria Stuart in it and it was nice to see her as someone who was more than throwing a necklace into the water and becoming a meme. (Stuart was the old Kate Winslet in Titanic.)

Maybe I’ll write about one of those two films later in the week. Or maybe I’ll try to watch something else. We’ll see. But if you want a movie question to discuss, how about discussing your favorite kaiju films. That’s the Japanese term for giant monster movies. It’s sometimes used specifically for the Toho Co. films that feature Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, etc. (The first cinematic universe?), but it generally means any giant monster film from Japan.

But for today, I’ll accept any giant monster movie from any country. That includes American films like King Kong or more recent stuff like the Jurassic Park movies.

The dubbed version of Godzilla for American audiences, starring Raymond Burr and now called Godzilla, King of the Monsters, is a trip. I don’t necessarily mean a good trip. In fact, objectively it’s weird and creepy in a kind of stalkerish way. Burr stares at the Japanese actors like James Stewart and Grace Kelly stared at him in Rear Window. Intersplicing Burr’s scenes (shot in Los Angeles) with dubbed scenes from the original film is just weird. At times, it becomes so bad it’s good. Other times it’s just bad.

I’ll recommend Mothra vs. Godzilla for something to explore after Godzilla. In fact, any Mothra film is fun thanks to her tiny identical twin singing fairy girls. Only the Japanese would come up with that. If you want a more recent American film, I really thought 2016’s Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway, was a clever satire of the kaiju genre as well. Sometimes it gets a bit too clever for its own good, but I still enjoyed it. At least I enjoyed it a lot more than the parts of Seoul that Anne Hathaway stomped on.

So what giant monster movies do you recommend?

Welcome back to everyone who skips the movies and music.

Tonight’s question is about free agent pitchers in a game of “Would you rather?” It’s general wisdom that the Cubs need at least one more starting pitcher to become contenders next season. Two available ones are Giants pitcher Carlos Rodón, who is widely expected to opt out of his contract, and Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga. Reports out of Japan are that Senga will opt out of his contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and sign with an MLB team.

Rodón is the pitcher you are probably more familiar with. The first several years of Rodón’s career with the White Sox were pretty disappointing when he played and even more disappointing when he was injured, which was often. But things turned around for Rodón in 2021 when he made his first All-Star Game and went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA. But while Rodón was arguably the best pitcher in baseball in the first half of 2021, he missed time again in the second half with injuries. Observers also noted a drop in Rodón’s velocity in the second half of 2021. All of which led up to the decision by the White Sox to not give him a qualifying offer.

Rodón then signed a free agent deal with the Giants and was even better in 2022 than he was in 2021. While Rodón’s ERA was higher in 2022, he led the league in FIP and strikeouts per nine innings with the Giants. He probably would have led the league in overall strikeouts had the Giants not decided to not start him in a meaningless game in the final week of the season.

Rodón mostly ditched his ineffective changeup in 2022 and relied more on his curve to keep hitters from sitting on his elite fastball and slider. More importantly, Rodón was healthy over the course of 2022. He threw 178 innings over 31 starts.

You are probably a lot less familiar with Senga, but he’s been one of the best pitchers in Japan for over a decade. He’s been named an All-Star in Japan five times. If you want to know how he does against international competition, he was named to the All-Tournament Team for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Senga did get the loss in the semifinals against Team USA, but 1) he was pitching in relief, 2) he gave up just one run over two innings, mainly because of a double by Brandon Crawford and 3) in that game, Senga struck out Eric Hosmer, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich over two innings.

I don’t know much about Senga’s stuff, but here’s someone who does:

Both Senga and Rodón will be 30 next season. Senga is about six weeks younger, so they’re basically the same age.

Rodón will come with the cost of a draft pick as the Giants are sure to make him a qualifying offer. Senga will not be subject to the posting system—he will be a true free agent.

Rodón obviously will not come with any adjustment period. Not only is he used to playing in MLB, he’s used to playing in Chicago. Japanese pitchers generally have less of an adjustment period than hitters, but their stuff is not always guaranteed to make the transition.

Rodón has already had Tommy John surgery and a history of injuries. He was healthy in 2022. Senga missed a lot of time early in his career, as well as in 2021, with injuries.

Another thing to consider is how many “miles” are on their respective arms. Rodón has only thrown 847 innings in the majors. Senga has thrown 1089 innings in NPB. He also threw a lot more innings in the Japanese minors than Rodón did in the US minors. (Although Rodón’s time at NC State evens that out somewhat. I have no idea how many innings the two threw in high school, although I’m pretty confident Senga threw more.) Whether that’s a sign of Senga being more durable or just being more likely to run out of gas later in his career is up to you to decide.

So which free agent pitcher would you rather have? Domestic or Import?

Jacob deGrom is not an option here. I mean, he’s an option for the Cubs. I don’t know if he’s a realistic option, but there’s nothing stopping the Cubs from trying to sign him. However, I’m stopping you from voting for him tonight. I’m also stopping you from voting “both” because I know everyone would vote for that.

So Rodón or Senga?


Carlos Rodón or Kodai Senga?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Gimme the domestic—Rodón
    (71 votes)
  • 61%
    I want an import—Senga.
    (114 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

We’re so glad that you stopped by this evening. We hope we made your evening a little better. Tell your friends about it. Get home safely. If you need us to call a ride for you, let us know. We validate parking. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.