STL Cardinals Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Wainwright chase, falling prospect

The Cardinals could be pursuing Yoshinobu Yamamoto this offseason to replace long-time Cardinal Adam Wainwright, who is chasing this career milestone.
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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STL Cardinals Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto could help Cards, but will cost a ton

The worst-kept secret in baseball is the St. Louis Cardinals direly need pitching as they retool for the 2024 season. And one of the hottest names on the market could be 25-year-old Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Yamamoto is expected to be posted for MLB teams to sign by the Orix Buffaloes this offseason. After news about his expected posting, he then went on to throw a no-hitter in front of 29 MLB scouts, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who also said a possible contract for the Japanese star pitcher could be $160 million, while many think it could exceed $200 million,

In his 2023 campaign with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, Yamamoto holds a record of 14-6 in 21 games with an ERA of 1.32 in 150 innings pitched, which includes two complete games with one complete game shutout. Yamamoto is now starting to receive more hype than Masahiro Tanaka received before coming to MLB and signing a seven-year, $155 million contract.

In his whole career, Yamamoto has pitched in 186 games and holds a career ERA of just 1.75 while pitching in 953.2 innings.

There have been some rumors about possible teams that he could sign with, one of which has been the Cardinals, who could be deeply involved in talks of signing him this offseason with the loss of many players and the potential to sign one of the best Japanese pitchers ever. The question will be if John Mozeliak is willing to go that all-in financially to get him given the huge projected cost.