Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
MLB free agency is widely expected to be dictated by Shohei Ohtani, but not far behind him are Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto as the top starting pitchers available.
Though, in Yamamoto’s case, he technically is not yet part of MLB free agency. But that became a mere formality earlier this month when the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) announced their intention to post Yamamoto this winter.
Doing so is going to allow the 25-year-old to make the jump to Major League Baseball as the most heralded pitcher since Ohtani.
As for when Orix will post Yamamoto, that is expected to take place on Monday, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney:
Source: Pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto expected to be posted Monday. That means the 45-day negotiating window for MLB teams will start Tuesday.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 17, 2023
The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are considered the primary teams that will be involved in Yamamoto negotiations. It was then reported that the sense is Yamamoto may prefer to join a team on the West Coast.
The Dodgers are among multiple clubs in search of at least two starting pitchers, and they are said to have some interest in Snell as well.
Yamamoto went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games for the Buffaloes this year. He allowed seven runs in Game 1 of the Japan Series but bounced back with a stellar performance in Game 6 that helped Orix initially stave off elimination.
Yamamoto’s NPB career concluded with winning a third consecutive Sawamura Award, which is the Japanese league’s equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young. Masaichi Kaneda is the only other pitcher to win three Sawamuras in a row, which he accomplished from 1956-1958.
What happens after Yoshinobu Yamamoto is posted?
Once the Buffaloes post Yamamoto to become an MLB free agent, it will mark the start of 45 days for him to negotiate with teams and sign a contract. Yamamoto’s agent is Joel Wolfe of Wasserman.
Whether it be the Dodgers or any other team, signing Yamamoto would require them to pay Orix a posting fee that is equal to 20% of the contract’s first $25 million, 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any additional dollars.
Multiple insiders have projected Yamamoto will sign for an estimated $200 million.
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