The Philadelphia Phillies are now in contention for Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who seeks a record contract in 2024. Philadelphia is the latest big league club to enter the sweepstakes for the Japanese ace. They join a fray that has reportedly driven up the highest-ever asking price for an incoming overseas pitcher.
According to Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Phillies met with Yamamoto last week. As part of their presentation, he received a FaceTime call from Bryce Harper.
Phillies Latest Team to Join Yamamoto Bidding
Bidding For Yamamoto Reaches Record $300 Million
Following the historic deal between two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yamamoto has emerged as the most coveted player available. Both the New York Yankees and New York Mets appear to be the frontrunners to acquire his talents, though multiple other teams have reportedly made offers, and now the Phillies are hoping to become a dark horse in the bidding.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto just pitched a complete game on 138 pitches in his last start before becoming an MLB free agent
He had 14 strikeouts, breaking Yu Darvish‘s Japan Series record pic.twitter.com/SleSD0Kl4c
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) November 4, 2023
Yamamoto has pitched for seven seasons in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. He is capable of showcasing outstanding command over a complete pitching arsenal. Yamamoto sports a fastball that hits the mid-90s, a tricky splitter and a lethal curveball. At just 25 years old, he’s already won Japan’s MVP Award, the equivalent of the Cy Young.
In his NPB career, which began when he was 18, he’s won 75 games and maintained a 1.82 ERA in 897 innings. These accomplishments appear to drive the offers for Yamamoto’s first MLB deal to record highs.
“Several league sources have relayed expectations that bidding will exceed the $300 million mark, which will shatter the previous record for an incoming overseas pitcher,” R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports reported.
The Phillies Rotation With Yamamoto
While the Phillies have been relatively quiet this offseason, Yamamoto’s promise has meant they could not resist. The Japanese ace would make an interesting addition to the Phillies’ rotation for 2024, which will likely see Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez return to the top three spots. Yamamoto would instantly contend for the team’s number-one spot, though Wheeler is a proven MLB product who pitched to a 3.61 ERA, 212 strikeouts and 13 wins in 32 games last season — not to mention three wins and a 1.95 ERA in the postseason.
Paired together, Wheeler and Yamamoto would be a lethal two-headed monster. Phillies fans have a new reason to hope that pairing could be a reality in 2024.
Photo Credit: © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports