There’s been ample speculation about the eventual price tag of a Yoshinobu Yamamoto contract, but until early this week, the right-hander hadn’t discussed specific years and dollars with clubs, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports.
Teams eyeing the NPB ace’s services were asked to submit a “preliminary” bid early in the process to gauge the seriousness of their interest, per Passan, but a follow-up round of more concrete bidding hadn’t taken place prior to this week. Yamamoto has met with several teams recently, presumably to familiarize himself with each organization and the systems and personnel in place at each potential landing spot. Entering the week, no teams had made a formal offer of $300MM or more, despite speculation to the contrary; none, in fact, had submitted a formal offer even beyond that preliminary bid. Passan wrote that some clubs have tried to broach the subject of years and dollars, but Yamamoto’s camp preferred to hold off until this week.
The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, Phillies and perhaps the Blue Jays among the teams reported to have met with Yamamoto over the past 14 days. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic characterized both the Phillies and Blue Jays as teams more on the periphery of the bidding as of this morning, however (video link). It takes only one aggressive bid to change that perception, of course, but it’s notable that they’re being framed in that manner at present.
The two New York clubs have long been known to be serious bidders for Yamamoto, though the manner in which he fits into each club’s landscape of potential offseason moves is quite different. The Yankees, for instance, have no intention of easing up even if they miss on Yamamoto. If they can’t lure the 25-year-old righty to the Bronx, Rosenthal suggests they’ll look to bolster the roster elsewhere. Among the possibilities he lays out are a run at bringing Jordan Montgomery back to the Bronx or perhaps building a stacked bullpen with pursuits of top-tier relievers like Josh Hader, Jordan Hicks and Robert Stephenson.
That seems to be a direct contrast to how the Mets are approaching the situation. The Athletic’s Will Sammon wrote over the weekend that the Mets are focused on Yamamoto and Yamamoto alone; they’re not expected to change course and pursue other marquee additions if Yamamoto ultimately signs elsewhere. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the Mets will submit a formal offer to Yamamoto in the next couple of…