Yoshinobu Yamamoto drops 1st hint that bodes well for Mets

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Mets
Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Wikimedia Commons)

Yoshinobu Yamamoto has officially been posted and his 45-day negotiating window with MLB clubs began on Tuesday, meaning the chase is on for the Japanese superstar ace. 

While numerous big-market teams are expected to be in the hunt, the 25-year-old right-hander has dropped a first hint that could narrow down the field — and that bodes well for the Mets. 

According to Yahoo! Japan, Yamamoto’s agent said he wants to play on a team that has other Japanese players — though clarifications of the translation from reporters added that he would be more open to it rather than it being a must.

The Mets boast one of the most notable Japanese pitchers in baseball in Kodai Senga — one who made the jump to North America just last winter. The 30-year-old enjoyed a brilliant rookie campaign with the Mets, going 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA, 202 strikeouts in 166.1 innings with a 1.220 WHIP. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and seventh on the Cy Young ballot. 

Kodai Senga Mets
Kodai Senga (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Senga has already reportedly told the Mets that he wants Yamamoto as a teammate, which would create an impressive 1-2 punch in Queens with a heavy Japanese influence. 

Winning the Sawamura Award three straight years — the equivalent to the Cy Young — Yamamoto had another remarkable season for the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball last season. In 171.0 innings pitched, he went 17-6 with a 1.16 ERA, 176 strikeouts, and possessed a 0.860 WHIP.

He’s the biggest free-agent starting-pitching target on the market this winter, which is quite a statement considering the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell, is also a free agent.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Mets Yankees rumors
Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, center, of the Orix Buffaloes celebrates with teammates after pitching a no-hit game against the Lotte Marines in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)

For more on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, visit AMNY.com