It would be shocking if the Boston Red Sox weren’t interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto this offseason.

But do they have a legitimate shot at landing the Japanese ace?

Well, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday the Red Sox are among the favorites to sign Yamamoto.

Passan also listed the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs as contenders, while adding the San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies are expected to be in the mix, as well.

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Of course, Yamamoto won’t come cheap. Multiple executives told Passan the floor for Yamamoto’s contract will be $200 million, with others speculating the total cost could be in excess of $250 million.

But Yamamoto is such a unique free agent given his talent and youth. He’s arguably the most fascinating player available this offseason besides two-way global superstar Shohei Ohtani.

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Yamamoto dominated with the Orix Buffaloes, earning three straight Eiji Sawamura Awards as the top starting pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball, and many evaluators believe that success will translate to Major League Baseball. He’s just 25 years old, far younger than the big-name alternatives available in free agency, and therefore he’s a good bet to perform for the duration of his first MLB contract.

There’s risk, obviously. Such is the case with any international player transitioning to the United States, where the competition is different. But it’s easy to see why any MLB team with the financial flexibility would be interested in pursuing the five-time NPB All-Star.

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That’s especially true of the Red Sox, who desperately need stability in their rotation and seemingly are positioned to make a splash this winter.

Featured image via Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports Images