“I contacted 11 to 14 teams. Perfect storm” excited Yamamoto agent, $200m starting point for negotiations

Major League Baseball’s interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), appears to be reaching fever pitch.

Yamamoto was designated for assignment by all major league clubs on Nov. 21. He is free to negotiate until January 5 at 7 a.m. ET.

Yamamoto’s contract is expected to be worth more than $200 million. As MLB.com’s Mark Paynesand wrote on Dec. 22, “A lot of free agents are watching to see what the top end of the market is offering. The contracts of Shohei Ohtani, Yamamoto and Cody Bellinger will serve as a model for the rest of the free agent class,” he wrote, quoting a National League club official as saying, “Yamamoto will easily top $200 million.토토사이트

That means Yamamoto will cost more than this year’s Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell, and Aaron Nola, who recently re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for seven years and $172 million.

Yamamoto’s agent, Joel Wolf, backed up the market sentiment in an online interview with local media on Feb. 22.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Wolfe said that “11 to 14 teams have expressed interest in Yamamoto. “No other Japanese pitcher has ever received this much interest in the free agent market,” he said, adding, “It’s the first time that so many teams have shown interest in Yamamoto at the opening of the free agent market.

Kyodo News reported, “Yamamoto has dominated the Pacific League for the past three years. A contract of at least $200 million is expected,” and “According to his agent, Yamamoto doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight on a team with other Japanese players. That means he can play for any team.

“The market for Yamamoto is heating up due to major league demand for quality starting pitching,” Wolfe said. Many teams are prioritizing the acquisition of pitchers of Yamamoto’s caliber and age,” he said, explaining the mood in the U.S. market.

“You could call it a perfect storm,” Wolfe continued. It’s a storm for the best pitching youngster in the world, who is only 25 years old. It’s a once in 10 or 15 years event,” he said.

Yamamoto started 23 games and pitched 164 innings this season, going 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 169 strikeouts and a .727 winning percentage en route to winning four Pacific League titles and the Sawamu Award. In his seven-year NPB career, he finished with 172 games (118 starts), 897 innings pitched, a 70-29 record, a 1.82 ERA, and 922 strikeouts. He is on pace to break the record for the highest seven-year, $155 million contract for an Asian player, set by Masahiro Tanaka when he joined the New York Yankees in 2014.

MLB.com lists 12 teams with interest in Yamamoto: 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.

New York Post columnist John Heyman considered eight teams to be in the market for Yamamoto, noting that “the Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Dodgers, Angels, Giants and Red Sox are looking to acquire two or more starting pitchers.

With nearly half of those teams sitting down to negotiate with Yamamoto, it’s likely that the ransom will be worth it.

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