With the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes in the rearview, the baseball world's attention has firmly shifted to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Japanese phenom is set to make the jump to the MLB in 2024, leaving everyone wondering just where he'll sign as his free-agent saga continues.
While the ongoing situation has seen some teams fall out of the race due to the right-handed ace's potential contract demands (potentially up to $300 million, per The Athletic), Philadelphia Phillies fans don't need to worry.
After all, MLB insider Jon Heyman just revealed that the Phillies are still in the mix for Yamamoto's services.
Phillies Rumors: Yoshinobu Yamamoto Free Agency
Heyman appeared on Bleacher Report's "Walk-Off Wednesday" to reveal that the Phillies are one of seven teams remaining in the mix to land Yamamoto. The other six teams are the LA Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants.
The insider also adds that he hasn't heard much about the St. Louis Cardinals or Chicago Cubs being in the rest, but did say that one or two unknown teams could make a play.
It isn't hard to see why the Phillies are still a legitimate landing spot at this point. For starters, they're a franchise that hasn't been afraid to hand out large contracts. Additionally, the majority of the core is also locked up, so it isn't as if there are more pressing needs to spend cash.
Philadelphia also offers Yamamoto a path to immediate MLB success. The Phillies have been one of the better teams over the last two seasons, notching back-to-back NLCS appears while also being just a pair of victories away from winning the 2022 World Series. It'd hardly be surprising if they had another deep playoff run in 2024.
The 25-year-old hurler would also be joining a strong starting rotation that already boasts the likes of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Taijuan Walker — all of whom recorded double-digit win totals last season.
Meanwhile, Yamamoto's coming off a 17-win campaign with Japan's Orix Buffaloes that also saw him pitch to a 1.42 ERA and 0.860 WHIP while allowing just two home runs across 171 innings. So yeah, it's easy to see how his presence would help put Philadelphia's rotation over the top.
Time will tell if Yamamoto joins the Phillies in pursuit of the franchise's first championship since 2008. As it stands, Philadelphia owns the sixth-best odds to win the 2024 World Series, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
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