MLB Rumors: Realistic Yoshinobu Yamamoto contract offers for every interested team

There are seven teams known to be interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto. How big could his contract get?

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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Remember when the Shohei Ohtani signing was supposed to release the free agency floodgates?

Well, turns out we still have to wait for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, too. The 25-year-old righty from Japan has captured the attention of the MLB world. Most notably, he has captured the attention of seven big-market contenders known to be interested in acquiring his services.

The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets continue to command the most media coverage. Lurking in the background are the ever-aggressive Philadelphia Phillies, who recently called upon Bryce Harper for a FaceTime pitch. The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox are also thought to be committed pursuers. And, not to be forgotten are the Toronto Blue Jays, who are eager to land a big fish after whiffing on Ohtani and Juan Soto.

Recent reporting suggests that Yamamoto's contract will exceed $300 million in total value, and that's without considering the posting fee due to his NPB team, the Orix Buffaloes. That could add more than $30 million in extra cost to acquire the offseason's most coveted pitcher.

It's rare to land a top ace at Yamamoto's age. He's ready to contribute at the highest level next season, and he could realistically lead a rotation for a decade-plus. That's why his contract numbers are creeping so high, and it's why whomever lands him will be over the moon.

Let's try to propose reasonable contract offers for every team interested in Yamamoto.

The Yoshinobu Yamamoto leverage plays: Blue Jays, Giants

It is becoming clear Yamamoto wants to play on the biggest stage and pitch meaningful innings from day one. While the Giants and Blue Jays can claim a path to contention next season, there's probably a reason New York and L.A. continue to dominate the news cycle. Yamamoto will either play for his native country's most popular team — the Dodgers, alongside WBC teammate Shohei Ohtani — or in the U.S. sports capital, New York.

There were reports of the Giants furnishing Yamamoto with an offer in excess of $300 million, but ESPN's Jeff Passan shot those down. Yamamoto didn't start discussing terms until Monday, when bidding got underway. San Francisco and Toronto can both deliver on that proposed number eventually, but right now, these teams feel like leverage plays, rather than actual threats to sign Yamamoto.

Crazier things have happened, though, and money always talks. Both teams have a blatant need for Yamamoto's productivity and potential longevity on the mound.

Giants predicted offer: 9 years, $300 million

San Francisco doesn't traditionally break the bank, but recent failures to land Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge, and Shohei Ohtani signal a clear desire to add star talent to a mostly balanced roster. The Giants have quality pitchers in the rotation, but no bankable No. 1 ace to pitch deep into a postseason game. Yamamoto obviously fits the bill.

San Francisco should and will maintain an aggressive approach here, but there's an equally significant need to improve the offense. The Giants also paid KBO outfielder Jung-hoo Lee a lot ($113 million over six years), so the reservoir is only half full.

Blue Jays predicted offer: 10 years, $340 million

Toronto made clear its willingness to spend significant capital on a star-level addition. While Ohtani and Soto eventually fell through, Rogers Communications — the media corperation in charge of the Blue Jays — has made it clear the future of their Canadian TV empire revolves around the Blue Jays. Landing an international star of Yamamoto's caliber could lead the ratings boost (and on-field improvement) the front office covets.

There's a real chance Yamamoto gets the longest, most expensive contract in MLB history for a one-way pitcher. He would join a talented Jays rotation alongside perennial Cy Young candidate Kevin Gausman. Toronto is a neat locale and a competitive team, but in the end, the Jays probably whiff again.