MLB Rumors: What I'm hearing about Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Cubs, Pirates, pitching market

The free-agent market is seemingly at a standstill, with Yoshinobu Yamamoto holding up the market. Here's what I'm hearing around the league.

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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The reports about teams submitting $300 million offers to Yamamoto are inaccurate, as first reported by Jeff Passan of

Yamamoto, the most coveted pitcher on the free-agent market, has been meeting and talking with teams in recent weeks. He is expected to sign a contract in excess of $250 million, but teams as of Monday morning had not been asked to discuss terms. But that is expected to soon change and there is a real chance he signs before Christmas.

There are many teams involved in the Yamamoto sweepstakes, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and New York Yankees. The Dodgers sent a contingent that included Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and others to meet with Yamamoto. Mets owner Steve Cohen flew to Japan to meet with the right-hander while Yamamoto also met with the Mets and Yankees recently in New York.

Once Yamamoto signs, the free-agent market will have a domino effect, especially on the pitching side. But Yamamoto is many teams’ top targets, which figures to only increase his bidding, and could have the teams that miss on the star right-hander scrambling for alternative options via trade and free agency.

What's to come?