Sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto
After missing out on perhaps the best baseball player ever, the Jays should turn their attention to the next best thing coming out of Japan in pitching phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto has been a hot commodity this offseason with many teams in hot pursuit of the 25-year-old sensation, including the Jays themselves. He is also believed to be the backup plan of many other teams after their own failed attempts in signing Ohtani.
Last season while playing in the Japan Pacific League for the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto led the league in multiple pitching categories by posting an incredible 16-6 record, 1.21 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, giving up just 22 earned runs with 28 walks and 169 strikeouts in 164 innings pitched. More impressively, he has actually maintained that level of dominance ever since breaking into the league in 2017 as an 18-year-old. Just in the past three seasons alone, Yamamoto has captured the Triple Crown title by a mile over his competitors. For his seven-year professional baseball career, he has compiled a 75-30 record with a 1.72 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 986 strikeouts in 967.2 innings of work in 188 games played.
However, how Yamamoto’s actual game will translate in North America remains to be seen. But he certainly showed that he could be among the best with his strong showing in the recent World Baseball Classic when he helped Japan capture the championship title. In addition, with a curveball that has been deemed comparable to the legendary Clayton Kershaw's, it speaks volumes of the potential stuff he has to offer. As a result, among all the gambles the Jays have made with Japanese pitchers in the past, this should be one that is worth it.