With MLB free agency and the rumor mill starting to pick up steam, the next couple weeks leading up to the winter meetings could be especially hot. Yesterday, MLB insider Jon Heyman released a new article regarding Yoshinobu Yamamoto, stating he may be posted as soon as Monday. In it, he mentions several big market teams prioritizing the young phenom in their offseason plans, and lists the Chicago Cubs as potential suitors for the right-handers services:
"The Red Sox, Cards, Braves, Phillies, Dodgers, Astros and possibly Cubs are among teams prioritizing a No. 1 starter, and Yamamoto is considered in that category."- Jon Heyman
It's no surprise seeing the Cubs mentioned, as the team is in need of a frontline starter to pair with Justin Steele. At the very least, the Cubs are expected to add one arm to the rotation, but speculation tells you the team may be looking at multiple upgrades this winter. Yamamoto, a dominant force during this time in Japan, is regarded even higher than Kodai Senga last offseason, given that he is only 25 and has a career 1.72 ERA with the Orix Buffaloes.
Chicago Cubs: How effective will Yoshinobu Yamamoto be in MLB?
There's no clear path to success for any player at this level. Everybody is different. Players who've made the jump from NPB to the big leagues have seen varying levels of success, but there seems to be little doubt in this guy's ability to come over and be an asset to a ballclub. Heyman notes Yoshinobu may cost upwards of $200 million, where The Athletic originally projected his contract to land around 7 years and $210 million.
Landing Yamamoto would immediately change the outlook around this Cubs team heading into 2024. Reports suggest Jed Hoyer and co. are on the prowl and have prioritized Shohei Ohtani as their number one target this winter, but should they miss, expect the front office to enter the Yoshinobu sweepstakes more aggressively.