Japanese Pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto Available for MLB Teams
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a highly sought-after starting pitcher, is now open for bidding by MLB teams this offseason. The 25-year-old right-hander has been posted by his Japanese team, with the signing window starting on Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET and closing on January 4, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.
Yamamoto’s impressive performance in the 2023 season for the Orix Buffaloes has caught the attention of Major League Clubs. He recorded a remarkable 16-6 win-loss record with a stellar 1.21 ERA and 169 strikeouts over 164 innings. Yamamoto has consistently dominated professional baseball in Japan for several seasons.
The Boston Red Sox, among other teams, are expected to be in the mix for Yamamoto’s services. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Red Sox are actively looking to acquire an elite starting pitcher this offseason.
The Red Sox currently lack a reliable No. 1 starter, making an ace for their starting rotation a top priority. Yamamoto’s young age of 25 makes him an attractive option for a long-term contract, as the risk is lower compared to older free agents.
Last season, Boston’s starting pitchers ranked poorly in various categories, including 22nd in ERA, 27th in innings pitched, 17th in WHIP, 17th in strikeouts, and 19th in batting average against. Acquiring a top-tier pitcher like Yamamoto could significantly improve their rotation and increase their chances of making the playoffs.
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The Red Sox could leverage their outfielder Masataka Yoshida’s relationship with Yamamoto to entice him to join the team. Yoshida expressed their close bond, stating, “We’ve played together for a long time,” in an interview with the Boston Herald’s Mac Cerullo in September.
If the Red Sox are unable to secure Yamamoto’s services, they may shift their focus to other top starters available in the market, such as Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, and more.