MLB Rumors: 3 way-too-early favorites for Japanese ace Roki Sasaki

The next big thing to come to MLB from Japan will be Japanese ace Roki Sasaki. Assuming he will be cleared to make the switch next offseason, here are three way-too-early favorites to land him.

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks v Chiba Lotte Marines
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks v Chiba Lotte Marines / Sports Nippon/GettyImages
1 of 3

Roki Sasaki just turned 22 years old this past November and is slated to be the hottest free agent on the market next off-season. According to Yahoo! Japan, Sasaki will make it a priority to push his current Japanese club Chiba Lotte Marines to post him next off-season and make him an amateur free agent in Major League Baseball.

Emerging on the scene as a global sensation back in the 2022 regular season game in the Nippon Professional Baseball League when he struck out 19 batters in a perfect game for the first time in league history. Once he caught the baseball world's eye with this game, scouts took notice and realized the combination of his high 90's fastball and his devastating splitter and forkball would fare him well in the MLB.

Expecting Sasaki to be available for 2024 free agency, there are three way-too-early favorites to land the Japanese ace next off-season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Special thanks to the newly signed two-way player Shohei Ohtani for deferring his $700 million contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have more spending money next off-season that could bring in Sasaki.

The Dodgers already have World Baseball Classic teammates in Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto locked in for the next decade. One could imagine it has to be enticing to Sasaki that he would be more comfortable joining a team with guys he is used to playing with. Sasaki will be classified as an international amateur free agent via an agreement with NPB. This will limit his earnings potential.

When free agency begins next Winter, expect the Dodgers to be named a front-runner to sign Sasaki. Throw in a potential World Series in the picture and you may have a no-brainer for Sasaki's decision.