“The New York Mets want Yoshinobu Yamamoto after Kodai Senga.”
After acquiring Kodai Senga ahead of the season, the New York Mets are looking to add another Japanese pitcher to their roster. Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the man in question.
“The New York Mets need another Japanese pitcher to pair with Kodai Senga, as they don’t have an ace to fill the gap in their starting rotation without Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer,” The Athletic reported on March 23. “Much like Senga felt last offseason, Yamamoto is hungry for a chance to pitch on the big stage.”
Senga signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the Mets ahead of the 2023 season. He had a successful rookie season, going 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings over 29 appearances.
Although they didn’t make the postseason, the Mets saw what Senga could do and now have their sights set on Yamamoto, one of the top pitchers in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
Yamamoto was drafted by the Orix Buffaloes in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He started the 2017 season with the second team and made his first-team debut against the Chiba Lotte Marines in August of that year. In 2018, he served as a set-up man, making 54 appearances, and in 2019, he joined the starting rotation.
In 2021 and 2022, Yamamoto became the first pitcher in NPB history to win five pitching titles in back-to-back years. This season, his final season before leaving the NPB, he won four more titles, going 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA in 23 games.
In March of this year, he was named to the Japan team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), where he helped them win the title. He has been praised for his ability to compete with world-class players. 굿모닝토토
As MLBTR reported on April 24, “Yamamoto posted a 1.21 ERA in his final NPB season. He is also a 25-year-old player who is younger than Senga, who is 30,” and said, “He could be a good fit for the Mets.”
“Other clubs, including the Mets, have an advantage because only teams with a lot of investment can afford Yamamoto’s $200 million price tag,” he said, adding that the Mets could be in the running.
Meanwhile, The Athletic predicted that “if Yamamoto does head to the Mets, Senga’s experience this season will help him adjust.”