Yoshinobu Yamamoto Rumors: Dodgers Among ‘Top Suitors’

Yoshinobu Yamamoto will become one of the top starting pitchers in free agency when the Orix Buffaloes officially post him to all 30 MLB teams as soon as this week.

The 25-year-old is said to have a preference to play in a larger market, which bodes well for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are looking to add multiple starting pitchers this offseason.

The Dodgers were first connected to Yamamoto this past February when president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made the trip to Japan to watch him pitch in person. The team also scouted one of the right-hander’s starts in September.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, the Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are considered the primary teams that will be involved to sign Yamamoto:

The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cardinals are viewed as top suitors for Yamamoto, with Yankees GM Brian Cashman among the MLB executives who scouted his no-hitter in person earlier this year.

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 before bouncing back with a stellar performance in Game 6 that helped Orix initially stave off elimination.

Yamamoto has a four-pitch mix that is led by his mid-90s fastball that touches 99 mph. He utilizes a tight curveball, solid cutter, and perhaps his best pitch, a chase-inducing splitter.

What contract will Yoshinobu Yamamoto sign?

Bidding for Yamamoto is expected to start around $200 million for six or seven years. The MLB record for a contract received by a pitcher leaving Japan is $155 million that Masahiro Tanaka got from the New York Yankees in 2014.

Any team that signs Yamamoto will need 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.

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