MLB rumors: 4 teams that satisfy both of Yamamoto's wish list items

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has, so far, two very specific items on his wish list for an MLB team. These four check off both.

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

Toronto is wrongly sometimes forgotten by Americans as a major market in MLB. At nearly 3 million residents in city limits, it's larger than Chicago. Depending on how you define the "market", it's reasonable to justify the Jays as one of the most marketable locations for a star athlete. As the MLB representation for an entire country, the potential market for an athlete as far as sponsorships and brand deals is massive.

Similarly, Toronto rivals any American city in terms of its diversity. While there's not a massive contingency of Japanese residents in Toronto, it's an easy place for a foreigner to feel at home due to Toronto's home to immigrants of a wide range of backgrounds.

So the big market aspect is checked off. How about a Japanese teammate? Yusei Kikuchi would be one of the starting pitchers Yamamoto would pitch alongside. Given that Yamamoto wants to have a Japanese teammate, maybe one within the rotation with him would be even more attractive.

Kikuchi has been in the majors since 2019, three years with the Mariners and the last two years with the Blue Jays. He just capped off his best season yet with a 110 ERA+ and a career-best 3.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

He's played for two teams and has stuck around for over five years, so he could pass plenty of knowledge along to Yamamoto.