The Chicago Cubs are reportedly out on the bidding for Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to a report from The Athletic. Will Sammon reported earlier the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Mets, plus two more unidentified clubs are in on Yamamoto.
"Yoshinobu Yamamoto has generated so much interest from both New York teams and other big-market franchises that the Cubs are not expected to proceed in those high-stakes negotiations," Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma wrote.
According to Jim Bowden, Yamamoto's deal is expected to reach somewhere around $300 million. That deal would place him in the realm of being one of the highest-paid pitchers in all of baseball.
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It was once reported the Cubs were among the favorites to land the right-hander. But as the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes drag on, teams are seemingly starting to move onto other free agents. Yamamoto's contract could be viewed as a daunting path to take, too. He's never pitched in MLB.
Yamamoto, 25, is one of the hottest commodities on the MLB free agency market this offseason. He's pitched in Japan on the Forgein level and in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. All-encompassed, he holds a 1.72 ERA over nearly 1,000 innings pitched.
He turned heads during the World Baseball Classic, proving to be one of the best pitchers in the tournament. With tournament champion Team Japan, he pitched 7.1 innings and held a 2.45 ERA. He struck out 12 batters and allowed a blistering .160 batting average to his opponents, putting himself among the league's best.
The Cubs have been attached to several starting pitchers this offseason. And for good reason. They finished 14th in MLB last season for pitching staff ERA. They're also seemingly losing Marcus Stroman, who finished with a 3.95 ERA, from their rotation, too.
Counsell & Co. are currently left with Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, Jameson Taillon and Javier Assad.
Of course, they're in on the Ohtani sweepstakes. From the report, it seems the Cubs are still interested in trading for Glasnow, without the inclusion of Christopher Morel in a hypothetical trade. They also have Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga "on their radar," according to Mooney and Sharma.
But, to give a pitcher who's never pitched in the major leagues $300 million screams buyers beware. The Cubs have priorities. But their disinterest in Yamamoto begs the question --- what will they do in an Ohtani-less world?