With Shohei Ohtani not able to pitch in 2024 due to injury, Yoshinobu Yamamoto has emerged as the top pitching free agent this offseason. The 25-year-old right-hander from Japan boasts a dominant mix of pitches that will make him the apple of every team’s eye.
According to MLB analyst Erik Beaston of Bleacher Report, a coastal bidding war could break out over the young pitcher and sees one Dodgers NL West rival and one NL East powerhouse as potential frontrunners in the Yamamoto sweepstakes.
The Giants are putting a full-court press on 25-year-old Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who’s expected to be posted in a few weeks. The question becomes whether the Giants can outbid other teams, such as the New York Mets, and convince Yamamoto to play for a team that is still a few pieces away.
Prediction: Yamamoto signs with New York
Both the Giants and the Mets have deep enough pockets to afford adding a top-tier pitcher like Yamamoto.
Last year the Giants swung and missed on Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa, both of whom signed very lucrative deals with the Yankees and Twins respectively. They have money to burn and a need for a top-of-the-rotation starter, so San Francisco is expected to contend for many top free agents including Yamamoto and Ohtani.
The Mets have shown a willingness to sign anyone and everyone in an attempt to win a championship. Last year they handed out high AAV contracts to Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer and then proceeded to trade them at the deadline for prospects. Dealing Scherzer and Verlander created a hole in the rotation besides Kodai Senga. Steve Cohen has made it known he will do anything to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Queens.
These two teams alone could create a robust market for Yamamoto. When other big market teams like the Dodgers jump into the fray, there is no telling how high the price could get. It could come down to factors outside money, such as the state of the rest of the roster, to sign him.
Photo Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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