Next Japanese Star To Sign This Week: 6 Teams in Pursuit

A 30-year-old left-hander out of Japan, Shota Imanaga's posting window closes in one week, on Jan. 11th. A signing must take place before then. And with his more illustrious countryman Yoshinobu Yamamoto off the board, Imanaga now has a big market with plenty of options. 

According to ESPN's baseball insider Jeff Passan, Imanaga's closest major league comp is southpaw Yusei Kikuchi of the Toronto Blue Jays. And yet, the newcomer to North America is expected to earn a contract in excess of $100 million. 

Passan notes these six teams in pursuit: 

  • San Francisco Giants
  • New York Yankees
  • New York Mets
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Los Angeles Angels
  • Boston Red Sox
The Giants are still looking to spend big money, so they'll be a top bidder, while the Mets can try to woo Imanaga with his countryman, Kodai Senga, who they signed out of Japan last year at this time. 

The Dodgers, of course, have both Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but after already spending over $1 billion this off-season on free agents, it’s unclear if they want to shell out yet another nine-figure contract.

The Red Sox also have one of Imanaga’s Japanese brethren, Masataka Yoshida on their roster.

As for the angels… Well, they used to have  Ohtani. Not sure if that will be a big selling point for Imanaga, however.

Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports