Yoshinobu Yamamoto Rumors: Preference May Be To Sign With Team On West Coast

A bidding frenzy is expected once the Orix Buffaloes formally post Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which will start a 45-day window to negotiate with teams and sign in MLB free agency.

The 25-year-old is making the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) on the strength of another impressive season and third consecutive Sawamura Award, which is the Japanese league’s equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young. Masaichi Kaneda is the only other pitcher to win three Sawamuras in a row, which he accomplished from 1956-1958.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among the teams that have been connected to Yamamoto thus far.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, there’s some belief Yamamoto wants to sign with a team on the West Coast, via Bleacher Report:

“One thing I want to say that I’ve heard about Yamamoto — and put this under rumor for now because we don’t know, I haven’t been able to confirm this and I don’t think his agent is going to confirm it one way or the other — but there are some people who believe that Yamamoto has a bit of a preference to the West Coast.”

It previously was reported Yamamoto’s preference was to sign with a big-market team.

If Yamamoto indeed is looking West, that presumably would be a boon for the Dodgers in their quest to significantly upgrade a starting rotation that came apart by the playoffs.

Clayton Kershaw reached free agency, as did Lance Lynn when his team option for 2024 was declined, and so too did Julio Urías but his future in MLB is unclear after an arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Signing Yamamoto would appear to give the Dodgers a frontline starter, though some scouts don’t necessarily view the right-hander at the caliber of an ace.

What it would cost Dodgers to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Prognosticators have forecasted Yamamoto signing a contract of at least six or seven years and upwards of $200 million.

Whether it be the Dodgers or any other team, signing Yamamoto would require them 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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