Latest on Mets and Yankees target Yoshinobu Yamamoto: Price of contract ‘growing by the day’


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Here’s the latest news and buzz on Mets and Yankees target Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Dec. 1, 9:43 a.m.

The price for Yamamoto is “growing by the day,” reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who notes that multiple executives believe the floor for the Japanese star’s eventual contract will be $200 million.

However, the cost for Yamamoto could reach more than $250 million, per ESPN.

An eight-year deal worth $250 million would mean an average annual value of $31.25 million.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Thursday that Yamamoto is ”intrigued by the iconography and history of the Yankees and Dodgers,” and that the Mets “have a deep desire to sign him and deeper pockets than anyone.”

Regarding the Mets’ pursuit, Martino noted that they’re “real players” and that they will “try their best to sign him.”

In addition to the Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers, the Red Sox, Cubs, and Giants are among the teams that have been linked to Yamamoto.

Nov.  29, 4:35 p.m.

In addition to pursuing two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers are believed to be a strong contender for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, per SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino.

Martino said if the Dodgers fail to sign Ohtani they could be a major threat to the Yankees’ and Mets’ chances at getting a deal done with the 25-year-old Japanese ace.

Martino reported last week that Yamamoto was starting to speak with interested teams via phone or Zoom and league sources said he would narrow down the teams after those initial meetings. The right-hander will travel back to the United States from Japan to meet with finalists in person after the Winter Meetings (Dec. 4-7).

It was reported earlier this week that LA’s division rival San Francisco Giants are prioritizing Ohtani or Yamamoto above other options this season, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Nov. 22, 1:30 p.m.

It did not take long for MLB teams to start making contact with Yoshinobu Yamamoto‘s agent after his 45-day negotiating window opened on Tuesday morning.

The 25-year-old’s agent, Joel Wolfe of Wasserman, told the Kyodo News that 11 to 14 teams have already expressed interest in the right-hander.

“This is by far the player with the most interested teams that I have ever seen at the beginning of free agency,” Wolfe said, adding that Yamamoto has expressed no reservations about joining a team that already has a Japanese player or any limitations when it comes to geography.

As far as the immediate interest from around a dozen teams, Wolfe called it a “perfect storm” of supply and demand.

“It’s what we call a perfect storm, where you have one of the finest young pitchers in the world who also is just 25 years old,” he said, via Kyodo News. “It’s generational. Something like this only happens once every 10 or 15 years.”

Nov. 20, 12:20 p.m.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been posted by his Japanese club, the Orix Buffaloes, and MLB clubs have been notified, according to multiple reports.

The window to negotiate with the 25-year-old right-hander opens on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 8 a.m. ET.

Yamamoto is expected to meet with interested teams in early December, SNY’s Andy Martino reported. And as of now, he is not requiring interested teams to show them their ballpark or host them in their home city.

The signing club will have until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024 – when the 45-day negotiating window closes – to submit terms to the league.

Nov. 20, 8:40 a.m.

The Philadelphia Phillies made the first big move of the offseason, re-signing ace Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million deal on Sunday. And even after that big outlay of cash, the club reportedly remains in the market for Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Phils will look to add to their pitching depth and plan to be “pretty aggressive” in pursuing the right-hander.

Coffey notes that if they don’t settle on the right price, the club “won’t push for a deal.” And Matt Gelb of The Athletic similarly reported that sources said Philadelphia “will not be a top bidder” for the 25-year-old after finalizing the Nola deal.

Yamamoto is expected to be posted on Monday.

Nov. 17, 2:32 p.m.

Yamamoto will be posted on Monday, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.

The 45-day negotiating window for MLB teams interested in signing Yamamoto will open on Tuesday.

While Yamamoto has the full 45 days to sign, he can agree to a deal at any point once the window is open.

In addition to the Mets and Yankees, the Giants, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the teams that have been connected to Yamamoto.

The bidding for him is expected to be fierce, with a deal worth $30 million annually for eight years or more possible.

Nov. 15, 12:29 p.m.

The Dodgers are “among the most interested teams” in Yamamoto, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Los Angeles is in serious need of starting pitching, with Clayton Kershaw a free agent, Walker Buehler and Dustin May coming off elbow surgery, and Tony Gonsolin out for 2024 after having Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers have long been linked to Yamamoto, as have the Mets, Yankees, Giants, and Red Sox.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Tuesday that Yamamoto “is totally open to New York and a big market,” adding:

“It’s the first free agent showdown, potentially, between the Mets and Yankees in the Steve Cohen era. He and Hal Steinbrenner have not been after the same guy yet. The Mets really want him, and so do the Yankees.”

Nov. 10, 8:42 a.m.

The Mets are “all over” Yamamoto, reports SNY’s Andy Martino, who adds that “word around the game” is that the Yankees will also be “strong contenders” to sign him.

Per Martino, Yamamoto is expected to be posted by his Japanese club soon.

Once Yamamoto is posted, he will have 45 days to agree to a deal with an MLB team.

In addition to the Mets and Yankees, Yamamoto will also draw interest from the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks, reports Jon Heyman of The New York Post.

The 25-year-old Yamamoto will be the biggest pitcher on a free agent market that will also include Blake Snell and Aaron Nola, but trails off after that, with Jordan Montgomery at the top of the second tier of pitchers.

The expectation is that Yamamoto will receive a contract that eclipses $200 million.

Nov. 8, 10:38 p.m.

As the baseball world waits for Yoshinobu Yamamoto to be posted by the Orix Buffaloes, clubs may be able to negotiate with the Japanese star soon.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the posting window for Yamamoto will be open “soon,” likely within the week. Once he’s posted, MLB teams will have 45 days to negotiate with his representative and agree on a contract.

Of course, Yamamoto can agree to a deal before the 45 days are up like Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida did last season.

Nov. 5, 9:18 a.m.

The Orix Buffaloes officially announced Sunday following their Game 7 loss in the 2023 Japan Series that they’ll post star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to MLB teams.

“We would like to inform you that the Orix Buffaloes have approved the transfer of pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the United States through posting. We will proceed with the application procedure in accordance with the ‘Japan-U.S. Athlete Contract Agreement,'” the team announced, as translated by Google.

“The next step is the formal declaration of the posting window, which could happen in the coming days,” per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Yamamoto threw a complete game with 14 strikeouts in his final game with Orix in a Game 6 win. He finishes his career in Japan with a 75-30 record and a 1.72 ERA over 188 games and 967.2 IP, to go along with a 0.915 WHIP and 986 strikeouts.

Nov. 4, 10:22 a.m.

Thanks to a stellar pitching from Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes in Game 6, the 2023 Japan Series will go to a decisive Game 7.

With his team down 3-2 in the series to the Hanshin Tigers, Yamamoto came up huge and left it all on the field with a complete game where he allowed one run on nine hits, no walks and struck out 14 hitters on 138 pitches in a 5-1 win.

The righty’s 14 strikeouts is a new Japan Series record in a single game, surpassing Yu Darvish‘s 13-strikeout performance in the 2007 Japan Series.

Game 7 will be played on Sunday at 4:30 a.m. EST.

Oct. 30, 12:50 p.m.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has etched his name in the Nippon Professional Baseball history books, becoming just the second pitcher ever to win three straight Sawamura Awards, Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young.

Yamamoto joins Masaichi Kaneda, a Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer and the only 400-game winner in NPB history, as Sawamura winners in three straight seasons (Kaneda took home the award in 1956-58). Kaneda also has the most strikeouts in NPB history and is considered one of the greatest Japanese pitchers of all time.

The 25-year-old Yamamoto pitched to a 1.21 ERA this past season with 169 strikeouts in 164 innings. He also threw a no-hitter for the second consecutive season.

Oct. 27, 11:20 a.m.

If Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto becomes available to MLB teams this offseason, the contract reportedly will not be a cheap one.

There is a good chance that the bidding for Yamamoto “will start somewhere in the $200 million range for six or seven years,” Mike Puma of the New York Post reported Friday, citing a person connected to the front office of a team that may pursue the 25-year-old pitcher.

A deal of that size would be the biggest deal ever for a Japanese pitcher signed to come to MLB, besting the Yankees’ seven-year, $155 million for 25-year-old Masahiro Tanaka in 2014. And would dwarf the five-year, $75 million deal the Mets shelled out for Kodai Senga last offseason as he entered his age-30 season.

A big-league talent evaluator who has seen both pitchers told Puma that while Senga’s famous splitter is “probably better,” Yamamoto “is a better pitcher, which is crazy to say because Senga is really good, too.”

Yamamoto is open to joining a big league rotation that already includes a Japanese pitcher, Puma added, citing a source.

Oct. 23, 8:49 a.m.

Yamamoto “covets the opportunity” to play in a big market, reports Will Sammon of The Athletic, who likens Yamamoto’s current line of thinking to the one fellow Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga had last offseason.

Meanwhile, Senga expressed to Mets management toward the end of the season that he wanted them to sign Yamamoto, per The Athletic, with Senga making it known in Japan that he wanted Yamamoto to sign with the Mets.

The Athletic also reported that Yamamoto would have no issues sharing his new team with another Japanese player.

In addition to the Mets, the Giants and Yankees are among the teams that have been linked to Yamamoto, with San Francisco making it known with their actions (they recently scouted Yamamoto in Japan) and words that they have serious interest in the 25-year-old.

Yamamoto is a near-perfect fit for the Mets, who have three holes in the starting rotation and are in serious need of a second high-impact pitcher to join Senga.

Oct. 20, 8:44 a.m.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was in Osaka, Japan on Wednesday to watch Yamamoto pitch in Game 1 of the Orix Buffaloes’ playoff series against the Chiba Lotte Marines, reports Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic.

Zaidi heaped praise on Yamamoto earlier this month.

“It’s been a pilgrimage over there from front office people to see him,” Zaidi said during an appearance on the Giants Talk Podcast. “He’s really one of the top starting pitchers in the world. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not.

“It sounds like a big statement, but yeah, I think both of those guys will attract some interest and we’re just continuing to do our work on them in anticipation of their posting in a couple of months.”

In addition to Yamamoto, Zaidi was referring to KBO MVP Jung Hoo Lee, who will also be posted this offseason.

The Giants have taken big swings on multiple elite free agents recently. They charged hard after Aaron Judge only to see him return to the Yankees, and had a deal in place this past offseason with Carlos Correa before things fell apart over his physical.

Oct. 5, 5:20 p.m.

The Mets and Yankees are expected to be on Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto but some rival GMs reportedly expect the team from Flushing to go big when he’s posted.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, some rival GMs feel the Mets will be a high bidder. The team has Kodai Senga, Yamamoto’s friend, on the roster and Yamamoto’s medicals are better than the Mets rookie. That likely means Yamamoto will sign a bigger contract than the $75 million the 30-year-old Senga got, although one GM believes Yamamoto’s size would give him pause. the right-hander is 5-foot-10.

One rival GM thought Yamamoto, 25, could garner as much as $200 million.

Aside from the two New York teams, the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Rangers are among the team who have heavily scouted Yamamoto.

Sept. 12, 11:47 a.m.

The latest team to send one of their top executives to see Yamamoto pitch will be the Cubs, whose president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer will attend the star right-hander’s next start, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Per USA Today, there were 29 MLB scouts at Senga’s no-hitter last week.

Sept. 9, 12:40 p.m.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was at Yamamoto’s no-hitter in Japan on Thursday, along with representatives from a host of other teams, reports SNY’s Andy Martino.

According to a league source, the other teams in attendance included the Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and Kansas City Royals.

Mets GM Billy Eppler flew to Japan earlier this season and personally scouted Yamamoto.

Aug. 18, 9:03 a.m.

Kodai Senga spoke about the possibility of the Mets signing Yamamoto, and said he’s happy to help when it comes to recruiting.

“I have known him since he was 20 years old,” Senga told the New York Post through an interpreter. “He’s been at the top level since he was very young, and I know he has a ton of talent. He is an amazing player.

“He’s an amazing pitcher all around. He has velocity, he can throw hard. He has good control and command. He can also throw off-speed that has a ton of break.”

Added Senga:

“He still has the rest of the season to get through, healthy hopefully, and the posting system,” “I think once that goes through, the team might ask me and [Yamamoto] might ask me as well, and I would like to speak to both of them.”

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