How much will it cost to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto?

Yoshinobu Yamamoto's potential positions him to become the highest-paid Japanese MLB pitcher in history. How much will it cost to sign him in free agency?

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages

Yoshinobu Yamamoto could become the largest contract directly from overseas, with some thinking he could sign a 7-year contract. He could sign a 7-year, $200 million contract, which would be the largest foreign contract ever, surpassing the 7-year $155 million contract that Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees in 2014.

In his last start before becoming an MLB free agent, Yamamoto pitched a complete game of 138 pitches, only giving up one earned run while recording 14 strikeouts.

At just 25 years old, Yamamoto is the most hyped Japanese free agent since Shohei Ohtani in 2018. In seven seasons in Japan, he pitched 188 games and posted an incredible ERA of just 1.72 with a record of 75-30. But in 2023, he had a record of 17-6 with an ERA of 1.16 and is the best Japanese starting pitcher.

How much will it cost to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto?

Many teams have scouted Yamamoto, but only a few can afford him. A report article from USA Today's Bob Nightengale, he claims a possible contract for Yamamoto could reach $160 million or even higher. That seems even more likely as his services will be pursued by all of the top teams in MLB.

The 2024 MLB offseason doesn't have the best free agent starting pitchers, so with a weak class, the big-market teams will likely throw in a bid on Yamamoto. This could start a major bidding war with his endless talent.

Many MLB fans don't know the potential that Yamamoto possesses. So, if you don't know how he pitches, there was a recent report by Just Baseball's Aram Leighton which took a deep dive into the pitches that Yamamoto throws, as well as some analytics around it. This could provide more perspective on why he is so hyped up coming out of Japan.