The SF Giants have scouted star NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto heavily with Farhan Zaidi attending a recent start. They appear to have serious interest as Robert Murray of FanSided believes that the Giants will be "firm players" for Yamamoto this winter.
Murray: The SF Giants are going to be "firm players" for star NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic confirmed last week that the Giants have genuine interest in the right-handed pitcher. Essentially, Murray added fuel to the speculation in the latest Baseball Insiders podcast with co-host Adam Weinrib by continuing to connect Yamamoto to San Francisco.
In the same podcast, Murray does speculate that the chances of veteran manager Bob Melvin returning to San Diego are low now that he has been granted permission to interview for the Giants managerial opening. Plus, he puts the odds of Melvin becoming the next Giants manager at around 90 percent.
Anyways, Yamamoto will become the focus once the Giants have a manager in place whether it be Melvin or a surprise candidate. This makes sense for San Francisco given that they have a need for another reliable starting pitcher and will once again have plenty of payroll space available.
It does feel like the front office and ownership are taking a more measured approach to this offseason. Last year, there was a lot of noise from within the ownership group that they were going to land a star free agent. That did not exactly come to fruition. Though, I do not think many would be disappointed if they under promised and over delivered.
Yamamoto had his best season yet with the Orix Buffaloes, posting a 1.21 ERA, 0.884 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, and a 6.04 SO/W ratio in 23 starts. These numbers are not too different from the 1.72 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 4.48 SO/W ratio he has posted across seven NPB seasons. He does what the Giants like in a pitcher in that he pitches effectively in the strike zone.
The Buffaloes are expected to post Yamamoto this winter, making him available to all 30 major league teams. The team that signs him will need to pay a posting fee, which will ultimately depend on his future contract. Though, if he signs a deal for $150 million, for example, Orix will be entitled to a posting fee of approximately $25 million.
The Giants could use some more predictability in the rotation as the starting crop outside of Logan Webb and Alex Cobb have more questions than answers. Kyle Harrison could answer some of those questions if he is able to stick in the rotation. Adding a player of Yamamoto's caliber would really mitigate some of the risk inherent with the current group.