Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Now that Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the most-coveted free agent available. His market has included reported interest from the Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and New York Yankees, among others.
Yamamoto began meeting with teams in person over the past week as he potentially nears a decision that some believe will come prior to Christmas. Yamamoto’s free agency process included requesting a second meeting with both the Mets and Yankees at the beginning of the this week.
The Yankees reportedly have a high level of optimism within the organization that they are the favorite to sign the 25-year-old. Yamamoto is also said to be the Dodgers’ top priority.
As other teams seemingly remain alive in the sweepstakes as well, Jon Morosi said on “Hot Stove” that the Phillies involved Bryce Harper as part of their free agency pitch to Yamamoto, as seen on MLB Network:
“The Phillies, I’m told, did have a very productive meeting with Yamamoto. And I’m even told that Bryce Harper had a FaceTime conversation with Yoshinobu Yamamoto to help with the recruiting process for the Philadelphia Phillies.”
The Phillies incorporating Harper in their meeting is a similar strategy to what the Dodgers took. But in their case, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Bobby Miller, Shohei Ohtani and Will Smith were on hand when Yamamoto visited Dodger Stadium last week.
Ohtani also lent a hand to the Dodgers in recruiting Tyler Glasnow before their trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and subsequent contract extension were made official.
Harper has also involved himself in trying to lure players to sign with the Phillies, including with former Dodgers All-Star Trea Turner.
Significant interest from multiple teams has led to an expectation that Yamamoto’s contract could end up reaching $300 million in total value. A report that the Giants and Red Sox made such offers appears to have been premature.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s deadline
Although there is an expectation Yamamoto will make his free agency decision by the end of the year, his deadline to do so technically is not until 2 p.m. PT on January 4, 2024.
Yamamoto was posted for MLB free agency on November 20, opening a 45-day window.
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