The New York Mets reportedly had scouts at the latest start of Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a pitcher that many expect his club to post this winter and make him available to Major League teams.
That start just happened to be a no-hitter, which was the 100th no-hitter thrown in Japanese pro baseball history. He also struck out eight, walked two and hit a batter in the victory over the Chibe Lotte Marines.
It was also the second no-hitter of Yamamoto’s career. He’s also won gold medals for Japan in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Should his club, the Orix Buffaloes, post him this winter, the bidding war for the 25-year-old right-hander is expected to be fierce.
It would also make sense for the Mets to be involved, as they unloaded a pair of high-priced pitchers at the trade deadline in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
General manager Billy Eppler reportedly scouted Yamamoto himself earlier this season. Plus, the Mets have had a positive experience this season with Kodai Senga.
The Mets signed Senga last offseason for $75 million over five years and he’s turned out to be their most productive starter. He is 10-7 with a 3.07 ERA with 181 strikeouts and 70 walks. Batters are hitting just .209 against him.
But Senga, who played for a decade in Japan, did not go through the posting process. He was able to declare himself an international free agent. He was also 30 years old.
Yamamoto’s age — he’s just 25 — along with his track record overseas is expected to create a much fiercer bidding war for his services, should he be posted.
The New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals were among the teams reported to be in attendance.
Source : Sports Illustrated