- Yamamoto has been posted and now has six weeks to find a new MLB home
- The righty was 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA this season, striking out 169 and walking 28
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Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been posted and now has six weeks to find a home in the Majors, where teams are expected to offer top dollar for the 25-year-old right hander.
Various reports have predicted that Yamamoto could see a total contract worth upwards of $200 million.
Yamamoto will become a free agent Tuesday and major league teams can sign him through 5pm EST EST on January 4. Nippon Professional Baseball notified MLB teams that Yamamoto’s Japanese club, the Orix Buffaloes, posted him for availability on Monday. Under the agreement between MLB and NPB the negotiating period starts at 8am Tuesday and extends for up to 45 days.
Yamamoto was 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA this season, striking out 169 and walking 28 in 164 innings, and has a 70-29 record with 1.82 ERA in seven seasons with Orix. He struck out a Japan Series record 14 in a Game 6 win over Hanshin on November 5, throwing a 138-pitch complete game. Orix went on to lose Game 7.
He pitched his second career no-hitter, the 100th no-hitter in Japanese big league history, on September 9 for the Buffaloes against the Lotte Marines. The game, watched by MLB executives that included New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, extended his scoreless streak to 42 innings.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto set a Japan Series record with 14 strikeouts in a must-win game for Orix
Cashman previously paid $155 million for Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka during the 2013-14 offseason, so he’s certainly willing to pay for Nippon Professional Baseball’s top talent.
The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Giants are among many MLB teams expected to be interested in signing Yamamoto, according to various reports.
A two-time Pacific League MVP, Yamamoto also pitched a no-hitter against the Seibu Lions on June 18 last year. His fastball averaged 95 mph and topped out at 96.6 mph in Japan’s semifinal win over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in March. He threw 20 fastballs, 19 splitters, six curveballs, six cutters and one slider in a 3 1/3 inning relief outing. Batters swung at 11 of his splitters and missed four.
Following hard-throwing sensation 21-year-old sensation Roki Sasaki, Yamamoto gave up two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks, allowing Alex Verdugo’s RBI double.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of Team Japan delivers a pitch against Team Mexico at the WBC
Yamamoto was charged with a second run when Isaac Paredes hit an RBI single off Atsuki Yuasa.
Under the MLB-NPB agreement, the posting fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options.
The percentage drops to 17.5 percent of the next $25 million and 15 percent of any amount over $50 million.
There would be a supplemental fee of 15 percent of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.