Detroit Tigers linked to free-agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto before posting

The Detroit Tigers are reportedly in the mix for international free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) throws a pitch against
Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) throws a pitch against / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Tigers linked to Yoshinobu Yamamto ahead of posting date.

The Detroit Tigers' off-season is in full swing. While there have not been many moves this off-season on the free-agent market, there's speculation that things could heat up as Thanksgiving approaches. On Monday, right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be posted to the market and can negotiate with teams.

The Detroit Tigers have been reported as one of the teams that are in the mix to make a run at Yamamoto. While Detroit is unlikely to end up with Yamamoto when all is said and done, they were reported to be interested in him, and at least one of the clubs would like to work out a deal with the Japan native after he is posted.

Since Yamamoto is expected to be posted on Monday, it's getting down to go-time for clubs who want to make a run at him. Teams will have a 45-day period to negotiate with Yamamoto once posted. If Detroit is going to make a pitch for Yamamoto, they will likely have to get out the checkbook, which I'm not so sure they are going to do. Not at the level it would take to sign Yamamoto.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Yamamoto was valued at a nine-year, $225 million contract. That's a projection, and he may sign for a shorter term or a vastly different valuation, but that's a daunting number for a team like Detroit. This is especially true given that owner Chris Ilitch has seldom spent big in recent years, outside of the deals with Javier Báez and Eduardo Rodriguez. But I do not see Ilitch pulling this one off, nor do I see Scott Harris caving into a big deal like this, at least not in 2024. If Harris is going to spend, it will be a very calculated move, and the 2024 season does not seem like the time for that.

But Yamamoto would surely improve the rotation. He's slated to be a difference-maker wherever he lands. In Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League, Yamamoto made 23 starts for Orix, totaling 164.0 innings pitched. During the 2023 season, he pitched to a 1.21 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP and had 28 walks to 169 strikeouts.

The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher uses a full four-pitch mix to attack hitters. This will play well in the big leagues when he arrives. He's got a traditional four-seam fastball, a cutter, a splitter, and a curveball. The curveball is nasty, and he creates really good depth on the pitch, causing the opposition to swing and miss.

The splitter depth is also solid, allowing him to tunnel his arsenal well and give opposing hitters fits. He's got a pitch mix that should play, as well as balanced mechanics on the mound, being able to stay uber-mobile and in good control of his body throughout the delivery.

While the Tigers are rumored to be interested in Yamamoto, whoever gets him will be getting a wonderful player. The question is who will win the bidding war for the right-hander.

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