The Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes are likely nearing a conclusion and plenty of teams remain in the mix. According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the SF Giants and Boston Red Sox have reportedly made an offer of more than $300 million for the star NPB pitcher.
SF Giants and Red Sox reportedly offer more than $300 million for star NPB hurler
I do not doubt that there is substance to these offers. The Giants scouted Yamamoto heavily even before he was posted with the front office concluding that he is one of the best pitchers on the planet. If that is what they truly believe, then contract offers will need to match that perception. A $300 million offer checks off that box.
MLB Trade Rumors originally predicted a contract of nine years and $225 million for the 25-year-old pitcher. While the site is a very good data point in estimating future contracts, he will likely receive well in excess of that.
Perhaps, Shohei Ohtani's 10-year, $700 million contract reset the reest of the market to some degree. It does not hurt that Yamamoto has an extensive list of suitors. Though, the big-market teams will be the ones who can realistically land the right-handed pitcher.
The Giants and Red Sox have put out competitive offers. I do not question that. I do wonder what the intent was for Bowden to leak that information on Saturday. Agents often leverage public voices to do their bidding and this is what it feels like with Bowden.
The New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers are firmly in the mix as well. And, all three of those teams have been labeled the favorites to land Yamamoto at some point in time. So, why would a rumor like this get leaked? I would have to think that the Dodgers and the Yankees would not want to see their longstanding rivals land Yamamoto. I would have to guess that this info is being leveraged to motivate teams like the Dodgers and Yankees to increase their respective offers.
Yamamoto is coming off of an impressive 2023 campaign in which he tallied a 1.16 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, and a 6.29 SO/W ratio in 24 starts for the Orix Buffaloes. This concluded an NPB stint in which he posted 1.72 ERA across seven seasons. The Buffaloes posted Yamamoto in November, so his posting window runs through the beginning of January. The team that does eventually sign him will owe the Buffaloes a substantial posting fee, but that fee does not count against the Competitive Balance Tax.