MLB rumors: Yamamoto favorite, Ohtani NHL factor, Yankees miss FAs for silly reason

  • The New York Yankees could land more free agents with one simple rule change
  • The Blue Jays' pursuit of Shohei Ohtani could be impacted by NHL TV rights
  • A new favorite emerges in crowded field of Yoshinobu Yamamoto suitors

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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MLB Rumors: Mets dubbed favorites in crowded Yoshinobu Yamamoto pursuit

Jon Heyman recently streamed live on Bleacher Report to deliver updates on the free agent market. He spoke at length about Japanese right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is expected to come to a decision soon. Heyman notes the potential for Yamamoto's deal to eclipse $300 million when considering the posting fee owed to his former NPB team, the Orix Buffaloes.

The New York Mets are highlighted as slight favorites in a crowded field, with Heyman noting the Steve Cohen factor — deep pockets, and recent experience swaying Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga — and David Stearns' recent trip across the Pacific to visit Yamamoto on the pitcher's home turf. That said, Heyman also says the Yankees "feel good" about Yamamoto, while just about every major market team remains in the hunt.

The San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and St. Louis Cardinals are all very much on the radar for Yamamoto. The 25-year-old is quite unique, as very few pitchers reach unrestricted free agency at his age in the States. A number of contenders would love to have a No. 1 ace locked up for the next decade.

For Stearns and the New York front office, it has been a relatively quiet free agency so far. The Mets never really made noise on the Juan Soto front and Shohei Ohtani has evidently DQ'd the Mets from his list of potential new homes. Landing Yamamoto, just months removed from moving heaven and earth to offload both Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, would certainly assuage concerns about the direction of the franchise.

In 23 starts last season, Yamamoto posted a 16-6 record with a 1.21 ERA and 0.884 WHIP. He struck out 169 batters in 164.0 innings pitched and his fastball peaks around 97 MPH. His tremendous poise and robust résumé at such a young age is impossible to understate.

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