With Shohei Ohtani off the board, Yoshinobu Yamamoto has become the most coveted free agent remaining this offseason. The race to sign Yamamoto will not directly affect the Cincinnati Reds, but the fallout afterwards certainly will.
According to FanSided's Robert Murray, once Yamamoto makes his free agent destination known, there will be a domino effect in the free agent market.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and New York Yankees are the frontrunners in the Yamamoto sweepstakes. But two of those three teams will be left out in the cold. That means they'll turn their attention back to free agency and perhaps even the trade market in order to bolster their starting rotation.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto's signing will alter Reds' plans.
But the Dodgers, Mets, and Yankees won't be alone. Robert Murray also cited the Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, and Pittsburgh Pirates, among others who will be involved in the search for starting pitching.
The Cincinnati Reds are known to be interested in upgrading their rotation as well, but once Yoshinobu Yamamoto signs, the floodgates will open and a flurry of signings will follow.
It's hard to see the Reds going after pitchers like Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Even Marcus Stroman and Lucas Giolito may see their value go up after Yamamoto signs. Then there's the trade market.
The price tag for Dylan Cease and even Shane Bieber might reach well beyond what Cincinnati is willing to pay in order add one of those coveted starters this offseason.
Have the Reds added enough to compete in the NL Central next season?
The Cincinnati Reds already added Nick Martinez to the roster this offseason. And while the right-hander is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation next spring, it's not the type of transaction that's going to move the needle.
Nick Krall and Co. could be banking on the fact that a healthy Nick Lodolo, paired with a more mature Hunter Greene, and a developing Graham Ashcraft will be enough to lead the Reds rotation heading into 2024.
The Reds also have depth behind those three. Andrew Abbott and Brandon Williamson proved their worth to the club in 2024, and Connor Phillips is waiting in the wings as well.
Once Yoshinobu Yamamoto signs his free agent contract, MLB free agency will turn into the Wild West. It'll be a no-holds-barred battle to acquire the top free agent arms remaining. Will the Reds emerge with one more starter or come up empty?