Yoshinobu Yamamoto is one of the most promising pitchers this season, and the Red Sox are in desperate need of a top pitcher.
So it’s no surprise that Boston already scouted him this year, and now they’re being linked. The Jon Heyman of the New York Post posted on X on Saturday that Boston and star Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto have been linked.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com also recently mentioned the Red Sox as a “potential fit” for him, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
Yamamoto, the ace of the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball, will most likely be drafted to MLB teams and become a free agent this offseason.
Last month, BetOnline predicted that Boston would have the fifth-highest odds of signing Yamamoto this winter.
The 25 year old thrown a gem in Game 6 of the Japan Series between his Buffaloes and the Hanshin Tigers on Friday. Yamamoto pitched nine full innings, striking out 14 batters, allowing nine hits, one earned run and zero walks on 138 pitches in Orix’s victory, forcing Game 7.
In the regular season, Yamamoto posted a 16-6 record with 169 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.21. He allowed just six walks (28) than earned runs (22) in 2023, good for a WHIP of 0.884 over 164 innings. The 6-foot-2 right-hander also threw two no-hitters this season. These performances earned him Japan’s Sawamura Award, the Cy Young equivalent of the NPB.
Feinsand says Yamamoto is expected to find himself in a rotation as a No. 1 or 2 pitcher on an MLB team, something the Red Sox could use heading into the 2024 season.
Boston doesn’t have a true No. 1 starter on their roster right now. Brayan Bello had some ups and downs in his rookie season and showed he isn’t ready to fill that role yet. Tanner Houck’s 5.01 ERA through 21 starts this year wasn’t top material and Chris Sale’s injury-plagued career in Boston continued into 2023. Signing Yamamoto would immediately make him the team’s best pitcher and likely a starter on opening day.
Of course, Yamamoto won’t be cheap. The Athletic’s Tim Britton projects the pitcher to sign a seven-year contract worth $203 million in free agency. The organization that signs Yamamoto will also have to pay an amount Postal charges to the Buffaloes. For example, a $200 million deal makes that fee $31.875 million.
The Red Sox passed on the luxury tax 2022 but remained below this year. The team should spend money on free agents this winter to improve their 2024 roster.
Boston’s new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow concluded in his introductory press conference that he might be more willing to spend money compared to his predecessor, Chaim Bloom.
“I don’t see financial resources as a limiting factor,” Breslow said said. “There is a relentless interest here to win from all sides.”
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