Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who was recently posted by his NPB club and declared a free agent, has until Jan. 4 to sign with a major league team. Reportedly, he has narrowed his choices to seven clubs. These seven teams are seen as “serious suitors” to land the right-handed pitcher, and they include the Dodgers.
Will Sammon of The Athletic has reported five of the teams, leaving two unidentified “mystery teams” in the running to sign Yamamoto.
“Seven teams, including five known clubs, have emerged as serious suitors for Yamamoto, league sources said. In no particular order, the list is believed to include the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Mets, plus two more unidentified clubs.”Per Will Sammon of The Athletic
Yamamoto is 25 years old – a young age for a major league free agent, which is why there is such high interest in his services. He is also seen by many as the best pitcher to come over from Japan, which is extremely high praise.
It’s no wonder teams are willing to shell out big money for Yamamoto; one report this week said a $300 million contract “would no longer shock anyone.” Who could be the mystery teams?
Looking around the landscape of baseball, the Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox desperately need starting pitching help. The Angels are among the finalists for star free agent Shohei Ohtani, who is expected to command an even larger salary than Yamamoto, so in theory they have the money to spend. The Cardinals and Red Sox are not among the Ohtani finalists, but there’s no reason on paper Yamamoto couldn’t be Plan A for both teams.
If the Dodgers were able to land Yamamoto, it would be a complete game-changer. He has electric stuff on the mound and would instantly become their front-line ace for the future.
As of Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that he hasn’t met with Yamamoto, but was hopeful that it would happen soon. Sammon also reported that Yamamoto will be able to meet in person with the interested teams soon.
“Yamamoto is expected to come to the United States this weekend, The Athletic confirmed through league sources.”Per Will Sammon of The Athletic
It remains to be seen if the Dodgers will land Yamamoto, but they are making a run at him. The front office knows the team needs starting pitching, and has made it a priority for this winter.
Photo Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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