MLB Insider reveals 3 Red Sox backup plans as race for Yoshinobu Yamamoto intensifies

If the Boston Red Sox miss out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto, it appears there are a few fallback options.

World Baseball Classic Semifinals pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto
World Baseball Classic Semifinals pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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2. Red Sox rumors: Boston is eyeing another pitcher from Japan

If the Boston Red Sox fail to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shōta Imanaga isn't a bad consolation prize. The left-hander was teammates with Yamamoto in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and played in Nippon Professional Baseball last season as well.

While most of the focus is on Yamamoto, and rightfully so, Imanaga is no slouch. The southpaw is 64-50 while pitching for eight seasons overseas in NPB and owns a 3.18 ERA. Last season, Imanaga posted a 2.66 ERA in 24 games and logged over 150 innings.

The Red Sox are not alone in their pursuit of Shōta Imanaga. Jon Heyman in his report mentions four other teams who could be in the hunt for the left-hander's services as well.

The New York Yankees, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs will all likely be vying for Imanaga's services if they miss out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Heyman also suggests that Imanaga will wait until Yamamoto decides where he'll be playing next season before making his intentions known. This is obviously a wise move on the part of Imanaga and his representation, as those teams who miss out on Yamamoto will be looking to pivot quickly with their wallets open.

Imanaga is 30 years old, and that will inevitably effect the length of the contract he's expected to sign. While Yamamoto might be looking at seven years or more, Imanaga is more likely to sign a four- or five-year deal this offseason.