The recruiting can officially begin for a top SF Giants starting pitching target. Mark Feinsand of MLB.Com reports that star NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has officially been posted by the Orix Buffaloes.
SF Giants can begin negotiating with top starting pitching target
The posting window opened on Tuesday, giving teams a maximum of 45 days to work deal with the 25-year-old pitcher. The posting process is a bit different than it was in the past. Previously, teams would bid in the form of a posting fee to receive an exclusive negotiating window with a player.
Now, the process is in reverse and makes much more sense. The newer posting process allows a player and his representatives to negotiate with all 30 teams. The team that ends up signing him is required to pay a posting fee to his former team.
In the case of Yamamoto, teams will owe a posting fee to the Buffaloes. The posting fee is calculated based on the contract amount. There are three levels to it, but the star NPB pitcher is excpected to score a contract well in excess of $50 million. In that case, if the Giants offer a contract with a value of $50,000,001 or more, the fee is 20 percent of the first $25 million, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25 million, plus 15 percent of the amount exceeding $50 million.
The Buffaloes will be losing a key pitcher, but they will be well compensated. The Giants have been scouting Yamamoto all offseason and are expected to be firm players in his market. At one point, Farhan Zaidi halted his managerial search to scout one of Yamamoto's starts. In addition to Zaidi, the Giants have sent many of their top personnel to watch him throw.
Yamamoto has been excellent in his seven seasons with Orix. He has posted a 1.72 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, and a 4.56 SO/W ratio while making at least 20 starts in each of the last three seasons. This includes a stellar 2023 campaign in which he tallied a 1.12 ERA in 21 starts.
The right-handed hurler excels in many areas, but he is the best option in one key area this winter. He flashes a mid-90's fastball that he pairs with a splitter, cutter, and a curveball. The fastball has late running movement into right-handed hitters and the splitter drops off of the table while maintaining similar velocity as the fastball.
If the Giants end up landing the seven-year veteran, it will require a substantial contract offer. MLB Trade Rumors predicts that he could land a deal of nine years and $225 million. Given that Aaron Nola re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for seven years and $172 million, it likely assures that Yamamoto will receive a contract with at least an average annual value of $25 million per season or more.
The Giants have often looked for bargain pitchers in free agency over the past few seasons, so this would pull them well out of their comfort zone. They have the money to afford someone like Yamamoto, but they will have to be in the unusual position of winning a bidding war.