MLB Rumors: Phillies doing their homework on Yoshinobu Yamamoto
For teams looking for starting pitching this offseason, there are a lot of great options to choose from. But when it comes to the top option, it may very well be Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the stud starter for the Nippon Professional Baseball League's Orix Buffaloes. He is a three-time Triple Crown winner (ERA, wins, strikeouts) in the NPB, won the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, and won a Gold Medal for Team Japan in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
There are many teams looking to sign Yamamoto when he officially gets posted on Monday, Nov. 20, with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Yankees standing out as the favorites. But there is another team to keep an eye on.
According to Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Phillies are "strongly considering" signing Yamamoto this offseason if they are unable to retain ace Aaron Nola.
Here is an excerpt of what a National League scout told Coffey about the Phillies and Yamamoto:
“They’ve done significant work on Yamamoto,” said one National League scout. “Most teams have sent scouts to see him, but I would say the Phillies should be considered one of the top five or six suitors for his services.”
Nola is one of the top starting pitchers available this winter, and neither he nor the Phillies could make progress on a long-term contract extension. While the Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said he would like to keep Nola, and with the ace previously expressing a desire to remain in Philadelphia, it's unknown if they can match what he might get from other teams in free agency.
With that, the team could circle to Yamamoto, who is younger and has a high upside. But that's not to say signing him will be any easier, especially with teams like the Mets and Dodgers linked to the pitcher already.
In seven seasons in the NPB, Yamamoto recorded a 1.82 ERA, a 0.935 WHIP, a 70-29 record, 922 strikeouts, and 206 walks in 897.0 innings (172 games).
The Phillies are in on Yamamoto, but it appears they will wait to see what is to come with Nola negotiations and if he will sign with a new team. But, who's to say that Yamamoto doesn't sign with a team first?