Yoshinobu Yamamoto Odds: Red Sox Among Favorites To Sign Japanese Ace

Only one team has shorter odds than Boston


Nov 13, 2023

Shohei Ohtani is the clear No. 1 free agent available this Major League Baseball offseason, so it’ll be fascinating to see whether the Boston Red Sox seriously pursue the two-way superstar.

But another Japanese phenom deserves significant attention, as well. Yoshinobu Yamamoto just might be the second-best player on the open market, and he’d help fill Boston’s most glaring hole: Starting pitching.

DraftKings Sportsbook last week released next-team odds for several notable free agents, including Yamamoto. As of Monday afternoon, the Red Sox had the second-shortest odds to sign the talented right-hander, at +400. The New York Mets were the favorites on the betting board, at +220.

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Here’s the full list of Yamamoto next-team odds at DraftKings Sportsbook:

New York Mets +220
Boston Red Sox +400
Los Angeles Dodgers +450
New York Yankees +550
Chicago Cubs +600
San Francisco Giants +900
Field (Any Other Team) +1000
St. Louis Cardinals +1100
Philadelphia Phillies +1200
Texas Rangers +1500
Seattle Mariners +1500
Houston Astros +1800

Of course, it’ll cost a pretty penny to sign Yamamoto, who’s making the jump to MLB after seven dominant seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball. Not only is he considered a potential ace. He’s also just 25 years old, much younger than the big-name alternatives available in free agency.

MLB Trade Rumors recently predicted a nine-year, $225 million contract for Yamamoto after he’s posted by the Orix Buffaloes. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel projected a seven-year, $212 million deal. FanGraphs’ Ben Clemens estimated seven years and $196 million.

Obviously, this represents a substantial investment, even for franchises with deep pockets. And there’s some inherent risk involved due to Yamamoto’s lack of MLB experience. But the upside sure is tantalizing, especially for a team, like the Red Sox, whose rotation struggled in 2023.

Red Sox starters ranked 27th in innings pitched (774 1/3), 22nd in ERA (4.68) and 20th in FIP (4.51) last season. Yamamoto won the Eiji Sawamura Award — given annually to the top pitcher in NPB — each of the last three years.

Thumbnail photo via Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports Images

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