Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team expected to make a serious run at Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer recently traveled to Japan and that could tip his hand at the team's free agent plans.

Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12
Republic of Korea v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 12 / Yuichi Masuda/GettyImages

With a handful of talented Japanese players expected to make the jump to Major League Baseball over the next few seasons, it should be no surprise the Chicago Cubs are expected to be heavily involved in the respective markets for the players making the transition.

Earlier this week, we heard that the Cubs are expected to target left-handed reliever Yuki Matsui. Matsui has been one of the top left-handed closers in Japan and there is no question that he would address a major need for the Cubs' bullpen.

Matsui may not be the only Japanese pitcher that the Cubs are targeting this off-season.

A recent report from The Athletic suggested that the Cubs will be among the teams that could make a serious run at signing Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamomoto. Though his first seven seasons in NPB, Yamamoto has posted an ERA of 1.82 in just under 900 innings pitched.

The report was spun from the perspective of the New York Mets and how Yamomoto may want to play in a big market with a team that can be good right away. The Cubs would certainly check both of those boxes and have shown that they are willing to spend top dollar on international talent.

The Cubs signed Seiya Suzuki to a lucrative five-year deal prior to the start of the 2022 season and it was Suzuki's influence that the team was hoping to lean on last off-season when they attempted to sign Kodai Senga. Senga ultimately chose to sign with the Mets but with the Cubs entering an off-season with money to spend and the hope of making the leap from being a good team to a great team, there is no question that they should be involved in Yamamoto's market.

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