Japanese superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto's MLB free agency is underway and his market could develop quickly.
Yamamoto officially was posted for MLB teams by the Nippon Professional Baseball league's Orix Buffaloes on Monday, opening his 45-day window to sign with a club before the Jan. 4 deadline.
NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported earlier this offseason that the Giants have Yamamoto at the top of their free-agent wish list alongside fellow countryman and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani as the organization reportedly appears ready to spend big this winter.
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With Yamamoto officially on the market, SNY's Andy Martino provided a timeline for how the 25-year-old's free agency is expected to play out.
Martino reported, citing two league sources, that Yamamoto, who will be traveling back to Japan, will begin meeting with teams via phone or Zoom as soon as this upcoming week.
Yamamoto then reportedly will narrow down the list of teams after the remote meetings and will schedule in-person meetings with the remaining teams after the annual MLB Winter Meetings take place on Dec. 4-7 in Nashville, TN.
Martino adds that Yamamoto is not expected to use the entire 45-day signing window, which means he could make a decision at some point in mid-to-late December.
San Francisco Giants
There was a report earlier this week that Yamamoto's agent, Joel Wolfe, told Japanese reporters that his client prefers to play on a team that already has a fellow Japanese player. Martino reported that Wolfe's perceived comments were the result of a translation error, according to one person on the call, and that Yamamoto does not require another Japanese teammate in order to sign with a team.
While Ohtani reportedly could make a decision on where he will play in the next week or two, it sounds as if Yamamoto's decision could follow shortly after.