The San Fransisco Giants and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto met Sunday, a source told Buster Olney of ESPN.
The New York Yankees are also flying to Los Angeles on Monday to meet with the star right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone, and pitching coach Matt Blake were part of the traveling party as of Sunday, sources told Andy Martino of SNY, who adds Yamamoto is expected to sign before Christmas.
Yamamoto could land a $300-million contract on the open market with every big-market club interested in his services, reports Heyman.
The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are also believed to be considered serious contenders for the 25-year-old. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, and Philadelphia Phillies have been rumored to be pursuing Yamamoto as well.
The Red Sox will meet with Yamamoto in the coming days, a source told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are reportedly among other clubs that will likely meet with the pitcher.
Mets owner Steve Cohen reportedly flew to Japan in early December to talk with Yamamoto.
In October, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said team officials already traveled to Japan to see Yamamoto pitch and called him “one of the top starting pitchers in the world.”
Yamamoto authored a 70-29 record with a sparkling 1.82 ERA and 922 strikeouts across 897 innings over seven years with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes en route to capturing the Sawamura Award three times as Japan’s top pitcher.