There should be movement on the market for Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto within the next week as the Orix Buffaloes are expected to post him within the next week.
The day that the Orix Buffaloes post Yamamoto will open a 45-day window where he can be signed to a Major League contract and the Chicago Cubs are expected to be among the teams interested. As a reminder, remember that any team would need to pay a posting fee to the Buffaloes in addition to the contract that they negotiate with the starting pitcher.
Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer traveled to Japan in September and Yamamoto was one of the players that he scouted during his trip. At 25 years old and posting a Sub-2 ERA in each of his past three seasons in Japan, Yamamoto is expected to land near the top of the free agent market for starting pitchers. Contract projections for Yamamoto have trended toward $200MM for 7 years and that is a deal that the Cubs have often shied away from for starting pitchers.
The argument for the Cubs to make such a deal with Yamamoto is that he is only 25 years old and likely would be able to sit at the top of the Cubs' rotation for the duration of the contract. Marcus Stroman opting out of his deal with the Cubs likely was a surprise to the team and the $21MM saved will likely help in their efforts to add a starting pitcher this winter.
Still, the Cubs may be better off trading for a starting pitcher such as Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow is set to earn $25MM during the final year of his contract in 2024 and the Cubs may view a trade for the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher as a better option considering the pitching prospects they have nearing the Major League level.