Yoshinobu Yamamoto Rumors: Giants & Red Sox Contract Offers; Mets Dinner

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Following Shohei Ohtani signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, all attention around MLB has now turned to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who may be the most sought after free agent in MLB history.

At just 25-years-old, Yamamoto is projected to be an ace for whichever team signs him, which has created a bidding war for his services among nearly every large market team. Among those who have expressed interest are the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, and surely more have checked in as well.

Due to his popularity because of his talent and age, Yamamoto is expected to receive a contract worth at least $300 million, and could set the record number of years for a deal signed by a pitcher, which currently belongs to the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole at nine years.

According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, Yamamoto has already received contract offers of more than $300 million from the Giants and Red Sox:

The #Giants and #RedSox both making a strong recent push for Yoshinobu Yamamoto both with offers more than $300 million dollars according to sources. Certainly others too making strong runs.

— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) December 16, 2023

Meanwhile, the Mets had a dinner with Yamamoto in what’s believed to be the second in-person meeting between the parties, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

Yoshinobu Yamamoto had dinner on Saturday night at Steve Cohen’s Connecticut home, The Post has learned. … Cohen, his wife Alex, David Stearns, Carlos Mendoza and Jeremy Hefner attended the dinner.

To this point the Dodgers and Yankees have been the presumed favorites for Yamamoto’s services. Yamamoto is believed to be intrigued by the Dodgers and Yankees, but the Mets have remained among the more aggressive teams.

Yamamoto’s process of meeting with teams included a tour of Dodger Stadium last week. The Dodgers had Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Will Smith, Bobby Miller and Shohei Ohtani there as part of their pitch.

Ohtani and Yamamoto have a friendship as fellow countrymen that played together on Team Japan, and the latter is believed to view Betts in high regard. It has also been reported Yamamoto grew up as a Dodgers fan, which the club hopes will boost their chances of landing the right-hander.

Yamamoto has electric stuff and went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 starts in 2023. He earned his third consecutive Eiji Sawamura Award, equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young, and ended his Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) career with three straight MVP Awards.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto expected to sign before Christmas

The window to sign Yamamoto began on November 21 and runs through January 4, 2024. The club that signs him will be required 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.

He is expected to choose his next team before Christmas.

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