Yamamoto’s final price tag still unclear amidst rumors
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Reports that teams have offered over $300 million to prized Japanese free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto are inaccurate, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Passan stated that “multiple high-ranking officials trying to sign Yamamoto told ESPN that teams were asked to give a preliminary bid at the start of the process to ensure they were serious — but not necessarily in the neighborhood of where the deal is likely to land.”
Since submitting those initial bids, Yamamoto’s agent, Joel Wolfe, has supposedly not asked for a new round of formal offers. This indicates that the final price tag for the 25-year-old pitcher remains fluid.
At 25, Yamamoto is considerably younger than most elite pitchers testing free agency. For example, Gerrit Cole was 29 when he signed a record 9-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees in 2019.
The idea that Yamamoto could command a $300 million contract underscores his coveted status after helping Japan prevail in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. He has also built his reputation as the best arm in Nippon Professional Baseball.
According to Passan, interested MLB teams are expected to present Yamamoto with concrete contract proposals beginning Monday. However, since his agent hasn’t moved beyond initial bidding, there may be flexibility in negotiations that keeps the final number under $300 million.
General managers also may still lack clarity on exactly what it will require financially to sign the Japanese phenom. But the mere possibility puts Yamamoto in rare company among the game’s highest-paid pitchers.