Baseball: Japanese ace Yamamoto in high demand: agent

Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto's agent said Monday there has been unprecedented interest among MLB teams for the Orix Buffaloes' ace right-hander.

Speaking to reporters online, agent Joel Wolfe said between 10 and 14 teams have expressed interest in the 25-year-old, a figure he said that exceeded interest in previous Japanese professionals on the free agent market.

The 178-centimeter Yamamoto has dominated Japan's Pacific League for the last three years, and is expected to sign a deal worth at least $200 million.

Yamamoto, who has won three straight Eiji Sawamura Awards as Japan's most impressive starting pitcher, has led the PL in strikeouts, ERA, wins and winning percentage the past three seasons.

Yamamoto, whom the Buffaloes have made available via the posting system, will have 45 days to negotiate a deal, a period that started Tuesday. Should no deal emerge, he will return to the three-time defending PL champions for 2024.

© Kyodo News