Report: Yoshinobu Yamamoto bidding expected to begin Monday
Dec 18, 2023, 11:40 AM
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
With Shohei Ohtani’s free agency in the rearview, all eyes are now on free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who appears to be closing in on selecting his MLB home.
Multiple reports surfaced over the weekend stating that the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, two teams widely viewed as on the outside looking in regarding Yamamoto’s services, had offered the 25-year-old contracts in the neighborhood of $300 million.
On Monday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that those reports are false, as Yamamoto and his agent, Joel Wolfe, had asked interested teams not to discuss contract terms during his initial meetings with franchises such as the Giants, Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, as well as teams viewed as favorites like the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Passan reports that the bidding process is expected to begin on Monday, and a resolution to Yamamoto’s free agency could be near.
Also in the story: All the alleged $300M bids for Yoshinobu Yamamoto — that’s inaccurate, sources tell ESPN. Teams have been asked not to discuss terms yet. But that could change today when bidding, sources said, is expected to begin. Now is when Yamamoto’s free agency gets real.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 18, 2023
While the 25-year-old was expected to receive a contract in the neighborhood of $200 million, there is growing certainty among MLB insiders that Yamamoto will sign a contract near or past the $300 million mark.
The highest contract ever handed out to a starting pitcher belongs to New York Yankees ace and 2023 American League Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, who inked a nine-year, $324 million contract before the 2020 season.
Could Yamamoto shatter Cole’s record before he throws a single pitch in an MLB uniform? We should get an answer this week, as it has been widely reported that Yamamoto expects to pick his new team before Christmas Day.
More on star free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto
The 25-year-old Yamamoto spent the past six-plus seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, compiling a 70-29 record with one save and a 1.82 ERA in 172 games. He has struck out 922 batters over 897 innings.
In 23 games in 2023, he finished with a 16-6 record and 1.21 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 164 innings. Those numbers helped him to his third straight Triple Crown in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball as he led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
Only three pitchers in Major League Baseball have won the pitching Triple Crown three times — Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Yamamoto also has won the Eiji Sawamura Award, which equals the Cy Young Award, three times.
The 5-foot-10 Yamamoto won a gold medal with Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and another in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.
SF Giants Schedule
- February 13-15th – Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training workouts
- February TBD – Full squad workouts
- Saturday, February 24th – Spring Training opener vs. Chicago Cubs
- Thursday, March 28th-Sunday, March 31st – @ San Diego Padres
- Monday, April 1st-Wednesday, April 3rd – @ Los Angeles Dodgers
- Friday, April 5th-Sunday, April 7th – vs. San Diego Padres