If posted this winter, NPB ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto is going to be a hot commodity among MLB teams. The Mets have already been connected to the Japanese hurler. They’re far from the only ones keeping an eye on the 25-year-old right-hander, though. You can add the Yankees to that list, as well as more than one-third of MLB teams.
At least, that’s what we can tell from Jon Heyman’s latest report in the New York Post. Yamamoto’s most recent start wasn’t his best, but the final line still looked pretty damn good:
Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s final line tonight
7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 98 P
Didn’t have his best stuff but kept a clean sheet pic.twitter.com/Ls2sedYei3
— Yakyu Cosmopolitan (@yakyucosmo) August 23, 2023
Through 18 starts this season, Yamamoto is 12-5 with a ridiculous 1.42 ERA. That’s accompanied by a 0.93 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 127 innings. Now in his seventh season of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, the righty owns a career ERA of just 1.77 in 930.2 innings of work.
Here’s what Heyman had to say about Yamamoto’s recent outing, along with the teams that were in attendance to watch:
The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Cardinals were among at least 10 teams to scout Orix Buffaloes right-handed star Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s start Wednesday, and he impressed over seven scoreless innings with poise, focus and athleticism, and also with several solid-to-plus pitches — including a four-seamer up to 97 mph, cutter, curveball and splitter.
Also there to see the two-time MVP who’s expected to be posted were the Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Phillies, Rangers and Tigers.
That’s quite a bit of competition. There are also several big-market teams/ones who aren’t afraid to spend money included on this list. Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Yamamoto could command a long-term deal either approaching or exceeding $200 million.
Even with the recent comments about the Mets’ immediate future, this still seems to be a player they’d be willing to break the bank for. Heck, even Kodai Senga is open to helping Billy Eppler and Co. with any recruiting that needs to happen.
We knew the Mets wouldn’t be the only team dying to sign him. This is a good initial look at what his market might be. If he’s posted by the NPB this winter, an intriguing bidding war could be on tap.