There isn’t much of a debate about where the Red Sox should first look to improve after their underwhelming 2023 season.
Boston must bolster its starting pitching depth if it wants to return to playoff contender status in 2024. And the starters market is slowly but surely dwindling, as Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda all are off the board as we close in on flipping the calendar to December.
Fortunately for Craig Breslow and company, there still are a handful of appealing options out there. One of them is Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who ESPN’s Jeff Passan believes would be a “perfect” free agent signing for the Red Sox.
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Boston was viewed as a potential landing spot for Yamamoto well before the 25-year-old was posted last Monday. The Red Sox also had the second-best odds of signing Yamamoto as of two weeks ago, trailing only the New York Mets. And Boston figures to be in the mix for the Japanese phenom, as the club reportedly preferred him over the likes of Nola and even 2023 National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
There’s risk in putting all of the eggs in Yamamoto’s basket, though. Passan reports the right-hander isn’t expected to sign with an MLB team until after next week’s Winter Meetings, by which time all of the other premier free-agent starter options figure to be off the market. Of course, the move could be worth the wait if the Red Sox are confident in their chances of bringing Yamamoto to Fenway Park.
Boston apparently will need to fend off fellow deep-pocketed clubs in order to make that move happen, as the New York Post’s Jon Heyman reports both the Yankees and the Mets are “going hard for Yamamoto.”
Featured image via Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports Images