Yoshinobu Yamamoto Expected to Choose New Team Prior to Close of Posting Window

Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto has until January 4 to choose his new team as part of the posting process between NPB and MLB, but he is not expected to take that long. A decision could even come as early as mid-December, which would help to spur the top end of the free-agent pitching market. Wasserman’s Joel Wolfe said recently that his client has received interest from as many as 14 teams, the most the agent has ever seen.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, Yamamoto plans to start holding meetings via phone or Zoom with interested teams next week. The pitcher will narrow the field based on those calls and will then travel to the US for in-person meetings following the conclusion of the Winter Meetings in Nashville. That puts his timeline somewhere after December 7, at which point it’s just a matter of how many teams or cities he wants to visit.

While the timing might seem to put Chicago at a disadvantage, it’s important to note that Seiya Suzuki was won over despite the winter weather. Speaking of which, we should clarify yet again that the reports about Yamamoto preferring to join a team that already had a Japanese star were incorrect. Wolfe simply said his client was not opposed to the idea, but an error in translation resulted in a widely aggregated report that twisted things a bit.

The Winter Meetings aren’t quite the same hotbed of activity as in the past, largely due to the way cell phones and computers have eliminated the need for physical meetings, though there will still be plenty of action. Most of that will probably be mid-tier deals, with the whales like Yamamoto, Shohei Ohtani, and others signing later.

But maybe not too much later, as all indications are that neither wants to drag their courtships out. If that’s the case, we could end up seeing a lot more movement prior to the new year.

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