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MLB Rumours Blog: Blue Jays have interest in Yamamoto

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Team Japan Yoshinobu Yamamoto - The Canadian Press

With the off-season's big prize in Shohei Ohtani off the board, teams look elsewhere to build their rosters. Here is a roundup of all the latest moves and rumours from around the league.

TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell and TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips unveiled their Top 50 MLB Free Agents last month. 


Jays showing interest for Yamamoto 

With Shohei Ohtani now off the board to the Los Angeles Dodgers, fellow Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the next biggest prize available. 

According to TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell, there is "definitely some smoke" to the Jays trying to pivot to Yamamoto, though the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers will also pursue his services and make things expensive. 

Mitchell adds there are some in the Jays organization who love what Yamamoto brings.

The 25-year-old right-handed starting pitcher, who has spent his entire seven year pro career in Japan, has already met with the Yankees, Mets and San Francisco Giants and will meet with the Boston Red Sox in the coming days, according to's Mark Feinsand.

Feinsand adds that two or three additional teams will also meet with him, including the Blue Jays. 

Yamamoto's deal is expected to be worth over $200 million, possibly reaching $250 million or more over eight years, according to Feinsand.

Thanks to the unprecedented deferrals in Ohtani's 10-year, $700 million contract, the Dodgers are also "aggressively pursuing" Yamamoto and are expected to meet this week, according to Russell Dorsey of Bally Sports. 

The native of Bizen, Japan was tremendous with the Orix Buffaloes of the Pacific League in 2023, posting a 17-6 record with a 1.16 ERA and a 0.860 WHIP with 176 strikeouts over 171 innings pitched. 

Over seven seasons in Japan, Yamamoto has a 75-30 record with a 1.72 ERA and 986 strikeouts over 967.2 innings pitched. He has won three straight Eiji Sawamura Awards as the league's top pitcher as well as three Pacific League MVPs. 

Dodgers interested in Josh Hader

It would appears the Dodgers are more than willing to keep spending money even after signing two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

The Dodgers are reportedly interested in free agent closer Josh Hader, according to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci.

Playing for the San Diego Padres last season, the 29-year-old Hader was named to his fifth career All-Star team, recording a 1.28 ERA, 85 strikeouts and 33 saves over 61 appearances. 

Hader has 165 career saves over 349 games with the Milwaukee Brewers and Padres. 

Verducci says Hader is looking for over $100 million in his next contract. 

Seth Lugo to Kansas City

Right-handed pitcher Seth Lugo and the Kansas City Royals are in agreement on a three-year, $45 million contract, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. 

The 34-year-old starter posted an 8-7 record with a 3.57 ERA and 140 strikeouts over 146.1 innings pitched this past season the San Diego Padres. 

Lugo spent the first seven years of his career with the New York Mets before signing in San Diego last December.