The Boston Red Sox have already been linked to Japanese standout pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who’s set to make the jump to Major League Baseball this offseason and has already garnered significant market attention.
Yet, like any other free agent, Yamamoto’s impending decision comes with one major question: How much will it cost to land the right-hander? Yamamoto is in a unique situation unlike any other pitcher available on the market, which could warrant a big-time payday.
“What’s interesting about him is the market is extremely hot for him, and the reason for that is his age — 25 years old. You’ll hardly ever see a starting pitcher ever come onto the market at that age,” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal said on the “Foul Territory” show. “In fact, it’s so rare I cannot remember another one this young being out there. That fact, combined with his accomplishments, really makes it a unique free agency. … The expectation is it’s going to be considerably higher than ($200 million).”
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That’s not unheard of for a starting pitcher, no less one ahead of his prime years. So if teams are as committed to landing Yamamoto as the rumor mill has suggested, hitting that $200 million mark could come from multiple front offices across the league.
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Tossing 164 innings in 2023 with the Orix Buffaloes — who Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida played for before joining Boston last offseason — Yamamoto recorded an impressive 1.21 ERA with 169 strikeouts.
The pay-off could potentially be major considering Yamamoto is regarded as arguably the biggest free agent aside from two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. And the competition for teams like the Red Sox won’t be a cakewalk from the sounds of the early MLB Winter Meetings chatter.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed New York’s strong interest in putting Yamamoto in pinstripes next season, stating the organization will put its “best” effort into striking a deal.
Featured image via Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports Images