Red Sox

Where the Red Sox stand in the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes

The Red Sox are one of many teams linked to the recently-posted Nippon Professional Baseball superstar pitcher.

The Red Sox are linked to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Matt Slocum/AP Photo

Now that Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a record-setting contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, all eyes are on former Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who will likely make his decision next.

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Yamamoto will have plenty of options to choose from. Every big market team is reportedly interested in signing the 25-year-old flamethrower, and he will be meeting with some of those teams this week.

But how interested is Yamamoto in those big market teams? The New York Post’s Jon Heyman posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the New York Mets are the current perceived favorites to sign him, with the New York Yankees and Dodgers close behind them. 

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The Yankees are one of those teams who will meet with Yamamoto this week, as they are reportedly traveling to Los Angeles on Monday to do so. The Mets have already visited Yamamoto and met his family in Japan.

But even though the Red Sox are not among the top three favorites for Yamamoto, they are certainly not out on him. Heyman wrote in a separate post that there are plenty of other teams who are interested in Yamamoto, including the Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and several others.

Some of those teams are reportedly starting to turn away from Yamamoto due to how expensive he is becoming. MLB sources have told CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson that the hurler’s next contract is expected to surpass $300 million, not including his posting fee. If it reaches that number, this contract would tie Manny Machado and Trea Turner for the fifth-largest in MLB history, the second-largest ever given to a pitcher just behind Gerrit Cole’s $324 million.

It’s not clear if Yamamoto’s price tag has become too high for the Red Sox, nor is it known if they have a meeting set up with him. But MLB Network’s Jon Morosi previously reported that the Red Sox viewed Yamamoto as a ‘priority’ during the Winter Meetings, and Anderson listed the Red Sox alongside the Yankees, Dodgers and Mets as possible suitors.

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Every team wants Yamamoto, and for good reason. He posted a 1.29 ERA and a 0.884 WHIP while striking out 169 batters in 164 innings pitched for the NPB’s Orix Buffaloes last season. Yamamoto has a career 1.82 ERA as a member of NPB, and he has recorded 986 strikeouts ever since he first became a professional baseball player in 2017, when he was just 18 years old.

Yamamoto is one of the world’s most accomplished pitchers, even at his young age. He just recently achieved the Triple Crown last season, and he won the Pacific League MVP and the Sawamura Award (NPB’s equivalent to the Cy Young Award) at the end of last year as well. He won all three awards for the third consecutive season.

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