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Free Agent Profile: Yokohama BayStars expected to post Shota Imanaga by Monday

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Photo credit:© Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
Though this year’s market for position players isn’t strong, there are a lot of interesting arms out there.
This is a free agent profile, where we take a look at the players on the open market this winter and whether or not they would be fits for the Blue Jays. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Shota Imanaga, a star pitcher from Japan who’s making the move to the Major Leagues. 

Shōta Imanaga’s 2023:

The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher has been one of the best pitchers in Nippon Professional Baseball over the past few years. Back in March, he started the Championship Game of the World Baseball Classic for Japan. During the regular season for the Yokohomo BayStars, Imanaga posted a 2.80 ERA across 148 innings while striking out 174 batters and walking just 24.  
Imanaga’s best season came in 2022, where he posted a 2.26 ERA in 143 2/3 innings pitched. That year also saw him strike out 23.6% of batters and walk 5.2%. For his entire NPB career, he posted a 3.18 ERA across 1002 2/3 innings pitched. He also has a 25 K% and a 6.9 BB% in his eight seasons in Japan.
Known as “The Throwing Philosopher” for his ability to keep batters off balance, Imanaga throws a fastball that sits around 94-95 miles per hour and uses a slider and splitter as his secondary pitches.

Shōta Imanaga’s contract:

We’ve looked at Jim Bowden’s contract predictions article from The Athletic in most of these Free Agent Profiles, however, he has no prediction about how much the 30-year-old lefty will make. MLB Trade Rumors, on the other hand, projects that Imanaga will make $85 million over five seasons, which is an average of $17 million per year. 
Imanaga is expected to be posted by the BayStars on Monday. That will open up a 45-day period in which Imanaga can negotiate his contract with Major League clubs. Whoever signs Imanaga will have to pay him his salary, along with a release fee equal to 20% of the contract’s first $25 million, plus 17.5% of the next $25 million, and 15% of any dollars after that. 

Is Shōta Imanaga a fit for the Blue Jays:

The Blue Jays have Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi pencilled in as four of the five members of their starting rotation for next season but the fifth spot is up in the air. The team has spoken like it’s Alek Manoah’s spot to lose but the 2023 Opening Day starter has also been mentioned in trade rumours this fall.
With that in mind, the Blue Jays will surely be in the mix to add some depth to their rotation. Imanaga projects as a mid-to-back rotation starter, which is exactly what the team needs right now. Signing an arm like Imanaga would make it easier to pull the trigger if the right Manoah trade appears. 

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

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ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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