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“I contacted 11 to 14 teams. A perfect storm.”

The Major League's interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25), the best pitcher in Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB), appears to be reaching its peak.

Yamamoto was posted to the Major League Baseball Team on the 21st (Korean time). Yamamoto can freely negotiate until 7 a.m. on January 5th of next year.

Yamamoto's expected contract size is expected to be more than $200 million. reporter Mark Feinsand said on the 22nd, "Many free agents are watching what contracts the top class sign. The contracts of Shohei Ohtani, Yamamoto, and Cody Bellinger will serve as a reference for other types of free agents." A team official said, “Yamamoto will easily surpass $200 million.”

This means that Yamamoto's price is more expensive than this year's Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, as well as Aaron Nola, who recently renewed a 7-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies for $172 million.

The market atmosphere revealed by Yamamoto's agent Joel Wolf in an online interview with local media on the 22nd supports this.

According to Japan's Kyodo News, Wolf said, "11 to 14 teams have revealed that they are interested in Yamamoto. No Japanese pitcher has ever received this much attention in the free agent market," and "there was this much interest from so many teams when the free agent market opened." “Yamamoto was the first to see it,” he said.

Kyodo News said, ‘Yamamoto has commanded the Pacific League for the past three years. A contract worth at least $200 million is expected. According to his agent, Yamamoto is not concerned about sharing the spotlight on a team with other Japanese players. “It means he can play for any team,” he said.

Wolf explained the atmosphere in the U.S. market, saying, "The Yamamoto market is heating up due to the major league's demand for quality starting pitchers. Many teams are prioritizing recruiting pitchers with the same skill and age as Yamamoto."

Wolf then expressed his excitement, saying, "You could call it a perfect storm. It's a storm for Young Gun, who is only 25 years old and is the best thrower in the world. It's an event that may or may not happen once every 10 or 15 years." I didn't hide it.

Yamamoto started 23 games this season, pitched 164 innings, recorded 16 wins, 6 losses, an ERA of 1.21, 169 strikeouts, and a winning percentage of 0.727, winning four Pacific League titles and the Sawamu Award. NPB's seven-year career record is 172 games (118 as a starter), 897 innings, 70 wins and 29 losses, an ERA of 1.82, and 922 strikeouts. It is expected that he will easily surpass the 7-year record of $155 million, the highest salary for an Asian player, set by Masahiro Tanaka when he joined the New York Yankees in 2014.

As for clubs interested in Yamamoto, lists the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers. 12 teams were selected.

New York Post columnist John Heyman considered eight teams to be in demand for Yamamoto, saying, 'The Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Dodgers, Angels, Giants, and Red Sox are trying to bring in two or more starting pitchers.'

Considering that nearly half of the clubs are setting up a negotiation table with Yamamoto, there is a high possibility that asking a ransom will be worth the price.
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Friday, November 24, 2023

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