(Photo credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports)
Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto can begin negotiating with Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday after officially posting as a free agent.
The right-hander is projected to sign a long-term deal worth more than $200 million, and his current team in Japan will receive a percentage of the contract value on top of that, likely more than $30 million.
Yamamoto, reportedly high on the offseason shopping list of multiple big-market teams, expects to draw interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and both New York teams.
Per MLB rules, the 45-day window that opens Tuesday would close at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4.
The 25-year-old spent the past six-plus seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, compiling a 70-29 record with one save and a 1.82 ERA in 172 games. He has struck out 922 batters over 897 innings.
In 23 games in 2023, he finished with a 16-6 record and 1.21 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 164 innings. Those numbers helped him to his third straight Triple Crown in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball as he led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
Only three pitchers in Major League Baseball have won the Triple Crown three times -- Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Yamamoto also has won the Eiji Sawamura Award, which equals the Cy Young Award, three times.
The 5-foot-10 Yamamoto won a gold medal with Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and another in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.
--Field Level Media