The New York Mets are one of ten teams to have scout Japanese superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto this season. Considered the "Pedro Martinez" of Nippon Professional Baseball, Yamamoto would be posted by the Orix Buffaloes, according to sources around the league.
Yamamoto has been a four-time all-star in Japan, a two-time MVP, a two-time winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award (the equivalent of MLB's Cy Young), and has won the Triple Crown each of the last two seasons. Yamamoto could be in for a fierce fight for his services now that Shohei Ohtani won't be available as a pitcher.
The Mets will have to fight many teams for Yamamoto's services
It's practically a given that Yoshinobu Yamamoto will break the record for a pitcher to be posted by a Japanese team. The record is held by Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees in 2014.
Yamamoto possesses a lethal arsenal. A fastball that reaches 97 mph, combined with an above-average cutter and splitter, plus a curveball with a unique "Ginoza" grip, with a 12-6 movement and a speed of 77 mph that gets any hitter out of rhythm.
Yamamoto's contract would be one of a kind. Certainly, the Mets have two routes to securing their spot in the team's rotation for the foreseeable future.
The Mets can guarantee more years than the rest of the team but with an AAV slightly less than $23 million for nine seasons for a total value of $207 million, thus surpassing the $200 million barrier. On the other hand, the team can offer an increase in AAV to $24 million, reducing the number of years of commitment to eight years ending with a total value of $192 million.
One relevant aspect to highlight is that although Yamamoto has Ohtani leaving as a pitcher as leverage in his favor, the posting fee that corresponds to his contract is something that can play against. According to the agreement between MLB and NPB, for teams that decide to sign Japanese League players for more than $50 million, the release fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million plus 17.5 percent of the next $25 million plus 15 percent of the total guaranteed value exceeding $50 million.
In short, the teams would have to cover more than $30 million in fees on the contract agreed with Yamamoto to obtain his services. The economic burden of this firm takes out of contention small market teams that could not compete for Yamamoto.
The Mets have leverage with the addition of Kodai Senga, who has been willing to recruit Yamamoto to the team. With both in the rotation, the team could have two Japanese aces commanding the team's rotation in the future.