Chicago Cubs Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto wants to play with other Japanese players

The Chicago Cubs may have an advantage in the sweepstakes for Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto this off-season.

Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) throws a pitch against
Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) throws a pitch against / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was officially posted on Monday and that opened a 45-day window where teams can meet with Yamamoto and negotiate a contract.

Yamamoto sits near the top of the free agent list for starting pitchers this off-season and teams such as the Chicago Cubs have been linked to his free agency for much of the past two months. Yamamoto was one of the players that Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer personally scouted during his trip to Japan in September.

Yamamoto has a sub-2 ERA in each of his past three professional seasons and at the age of 25, appears to be the rare starting pitcher where Major League Baseball teams may feel comfortable signing to a seven-year deal.

Yamamoto is expected to meet with Major League teams at the Winter Meetings in two weeks and it would seem that he has a preference to sign with a team that already has a Japanese player.

That certainly would work in the favor of the Cubs considering Seiya Suzuki is in place as the team's starting right fielder. Suzuki is beloved by his teammates on Japan's national team so it's likely that Yamamoto would have interest in joining the Cubs. Not to mention, former Cubs' starting Yu Darvish has always spoken highly about his time with the Cubs and would likely say nothing but good things about the organization if asked by Yamamoto.

Let's also answer the other question that is probably on your mind, no. The Cubs will not be forming a superteam of Japanese superstars that include Yamamoto, Suzuki, and Shohei Ohtani. While the Cubs are believed to be in the running for both Yamamoto and Ohtani, it will be a one-or-the-other situation, not both.

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