MLB's offseason continues on Wednesday, with just a few weeks remaining until the annual winter meetings. The Brewers officially named Pat Murphy their new manager on Wednesday morning, leaving only the Padres with an opening. Past that, the rumor mill has started churning. Let's get to it for Wednesday.
The Yankees and Mets both have serious interest in signing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to SNY's Andy Martino. Martino notes that Yamamoto is believed to be open to playing in a large market.
Yamamoto, 25, was recently ranked by CBS Sports as the No. 2 free agent available this winter.:
Yamamoto is a five-time All-Star, a three-time ERA champion, and a two-time Triple Crown champion in NPB. Last year, he won the Pacific League's equivalents of the MVP and Cy Young Awards. He is, in our estimation, the best pitcher in the world to have never suited up for an MLB team. Oh, and he just celebrated his 25th birthday in August. Talent evaluators have raved to CBS Sports about Yamamoto for years, citing his high-grade command over a good arsenal as the most impressive part of his game. He throws a mid-90s fastball about half the time, complementing it with a swing-and-miss splitter and a high-spin curveball. Each of those pitches went for a strike at least 65% of the time this season, reinforcing the notion that he paints with a fine-tip brush. There's more than enough precedent to feel confident in Yamamoto making an easy adjustment to the MLB ball and schedule. In turn, there's no reason for teams to hold back in their bidding, rendering it highly likely that he shatters Masahiro Tanaka's record $155 million contract.
It's worth noting that Yamamoto has not been officially "posted" by the Orix Buffaloes. Once that happens, teams will have 45 days to negotiate a deal with him. He's expected to draw interest from countless other clubs, including the Giants, Phillies, and Cardinals.
Phillies tepid on Snell?
The Phillies have been pegged as a popular landing spot for likely NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. The Phillies' front office, though, might not be as high on him as the prevalence of those rumors indicate.
According to The Athletic's Jayson Stark, the Phillies appear to be "just lukewarm" on Snell because of his command and inconsistency. That doesn't mean Snell won't be in play -- especially if Aaron Nola and Yamamoto go elsewhere -- just that they may not consider him their Plan A.
Giants in on most big names
The Giants have checked in on most of the top free agents, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. That group includes Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Blake Snell. CBS Sports can also confirm that the Giants were a frequent presence in scouting Korean outfielder Jung Hoo Lee.
The Giants have tried and failed to land a big-name free agent in recent years. They appeared to have a deal with Carlos Correa before backing off after seeing his physical results. They also came up short on Aaron Judge. In the past, the Giants have also pursued Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton, again to no avail.
It's to be seen if this winter will be any different. At minimum, the Giants seem to have a lot of irons in the fire.