The Philadelphia Phillies have put forth a formal contract offer to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, writes Matt Gelb of The Athletic. While terms are unreported, Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote earlier in the week the club was planning to be aggressive in its pursuit of the NPB star.
It’s notable, if unsurprising, that the Phillies have put an official proposal on the table. Nevertheless, both Gelb and Coffey suggest it’s unlikely the Phillies offer will be the highest that Yamamoto receives. Gelb adds that team officials are uncertain how much interest the pitcher has in Philadelphia.
That all aligns with earlier reporting casting the Phils as a relative long shot among the seven known finalists: the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox being the others. Yamamoto didn’t stop in Philadelphia as part of his North American tour, instead meeting with club personnel in Los Angeles.
Of course, the starting point for most free agents is financial. If the Phillies’ offer does wind up below the top bids, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sign elsewhere. Philadelphia doesn’t necessarily need a starting pitcher. A front five of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker and Cristopher Sanchez is strong. Prospect Mick Abel could pitch his way into the midseason mix. Even if there’s no question the group would be improved by adding NPB’s best pitcher, other clubs could feel more urgency to top the market.
The Dodgers are reportedly weighing an offer that’d land somewhere between $250M and $300M. SNY’s Andy Martino said Tuesday night that the Mets were putting together “a very serious offer” of their own. Most or all of the seven clubs with which the 25-year-old has met recently are likely to submit an offer this week.
Yamamoto has until the evening of Jan. 4 to sign. He isn’t expected to wait that long. There has been speculation he could decide by the end of the week, although that’s not guaranteed. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman relayed Wednesday evening that while one executive involved in the bidding expected Yamamoto to sign before Christmas, another suggested he could deliberate until just before the end of the year.