Yoshinobu Yamamoto takes big next step in free agency
Yoshinobu Yamamoto is expected to be one of the big free-agent prizes of the 2023 MLB off-season. Now, the dynamic young pitcher is taking the most significant step yet toward the open market.
As first reported by Buster Olney last Friday, Yamamoto is expected to be “posted” Monday, meaning he will soon be free to speak with major league teams. Once he is officially posted, that will open a 45-day window for teams to negotiate with him starting on the following day, likely Tuesday. (UPDATE: Yamamoto has officially posted and can begin negotiating with other teams on Tuesday at 8 a.m.)
Under MLB rules, whichever team ends up signing Yamamoto will have to pay a “release fee” to his former club in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), which is based on the total guaranteed value of his contract. Jeff Passan reported last week that he expects the Boston Red Sox to be in the mix for Yamamoto’s services. They’ve also been linked to top free-agent superstar Shohei Ohtani.
Yamamoto is being hyped for his mid-90s fastball and deep arsenal of pitches, making him a potential ace at the major league level. He may also garner added interest relative to other big-name free agents because of his age, as he will enter the majors at 25 years old.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto Free-Agent Odds
Multiple reports list the New York Mets as the favorites to sign Yamamoto, followed by the Red Sox at +400. Yamamoto makes sense for the Red Sox more than other teams, due to their well-known interest in signing at least one high-end starting pitcher.
Yamamoto ranks third in our official MLB free agent rankings for 2023. Check out the full top-20 below.
MLB free agent rankings: The top-20 players available in 2023
Baseball is about to kick into high gear for the 2023 off-season. Here are the latest MLB free agent rankings from 985TheSportsHub.com, the top-20 players available regardless of position…
SP/DH Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani may be coming off elbow surgery, which will keep him away from pitching until 2025. But despite that, Ohtani is STILL easily the best player available on the free-agent market, because he’s easily the best overall player in baseball.
A star with both a bat and a ball, Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime two-way talent. The concern is whether he will be the same guy as a pitcher when he finally returns to the mound in 2025. But even a diminished version of Ohtani would still be a solid starting pitcher, combined with elite power as a hitter.
So, you can still expect teams to line up and bid to pay Ohtani serious megabucks for 2023 and beyond. Perhaps the surgery knocks the money down a peg for him, but he should still be looking at a record-breaking contract as the top player in our MLB free agent rankings.
(UPDATE: Ohtani announced that he is signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The contract is reportedly 10 years and $700 million.)
2. OF Cody Bellinger
Bellinger is in for a very nice payday, as the next-best hitter on the market after Ohtani. He’s coming off a season where he posted a .307 batting average and .881 OPS with 26 home runs in just 130 games.
As long as Bellinger is healthy, he’s pretty much a lock for 30-plus home runs in a starting outfield spot. Any team willing to spend that’s in need of power in the outfield, or even first base, should be calling about Bellinger.