Yoshinobu Yamamoto is officially in the United States, and word is that he's already met with the San Francisco Giants, along with the Yankees and Mets. Two more meetings with the Red Sox and Blue Jays are confirmed for the coming days, and one or two as yet unnamed teams are also expected to host him.
Unlike the Yankees and Mets meetings, which have been openly described in positive terms, we know nothing about Yamamoto's meeting with the Giants at the moment, other than that it happened. We do know that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi flew out to Japan to meet Yamamoto — perhaps a less talked-about venture overseas than Brian Cashman's or Steve Cohen and David Stearns' — before he was posted just ahead of Winter Meetings, so a relationship has been in place for a time.
SF Giants pursuing Yoshinobu Yamamoto after losing out on Shohei Ohtani
Yamamoto is this offseason's second biggest puzzle piece, and the first one just fell into place with the Dodgers. The Giants were an early in on Shohei Ohtani, but their name faded by the end of the chase and Ohtani chose LA. There are still high profile free agent starters available, but none are being so openly courted as Yamamoto, who is expected to sign a contract that breaks international signing records and open the flood gates to the rest of the starting pitcher market.
The Giants have been notoriously, publicly spurned in the last few years when it comes to free agents. There was the Aaron Judge saga, the Carlos Correa saga, and they lost out on Ohtani seemingly without ever being a major player in his free agency. Securing Yamamoto would be a complete, necessary reversal of fortunes for a team that has found themselves toward the middle/bottom of the pack for years outside of an outlier year in 2021.
San Francisco has not been as open about their monetary situation as other teams, including some of their fellow suitors in the Yamamoto chase, but they're clearly sitting on a lot of money that they're willing to use on the right player. All of that money they were ready to give Judge, or Correa, or even Ohtani, could be Yamamoto's if the Giants do a good enough job of setting themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. At this point, it feels more necessary than ever before.