Reports: Bidding begins as Yankees, Mets dine with Yoshinobu Yamamoto

League: MLB

Posted on: 18 Dec, 2023 at 07:37 PM

Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Coveted Japanese free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto is ready to hear bids from suitors beginning Monday, ESPN reported.

Yamamoto reportedly granted the Mets and Yankees another chance to make their case in separate dinner gatherings over the weekend.

The superstar reportedly requested and was granted a second meeting with the Mets, having dinner Saturday with Mets owner Steve Cohen, president of baseball operations David Stearns, manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner at Cohen's Connecticut home, MLB Network reported.

The next night, Yamamoto reportedly broke bread with the Yankees, asking for a second meeting which occurred Sunday night, according to MLB Network.

Yamamoto had previously met with top executives from the Yankees organization in Los Angeles last week and had previously met with the Mets' Cohen and Stearns when the two traveled to Japan to meet with him and his family several weeks ago, according to multiple reports.

The bidding for the superstar is "supposed to intensify" this week, MLB Network reported, with ESPN declaring Monday as the first day the 25-year-old would discuss a contract.

Yamamoto has until Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. ET, when the 45-day window on his posting closes, to sign with a major league team.

Yamamoto has reportedly already met with the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is the only major league pitcher to sign a contract with a total value over $300 million (nine years, $324 million), speculation around baseball has Yamamoto potentially landing a nine-year deal at $30 million to 34 million per season.

Yamamoto 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 pitching 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