2) Yoshinubo Yamamoto just changed the complexion of the free-agent starter market.
Yamamoto got far more money than anyone anticipated. The total investment, as previously stated, is nearly $400MM. That's crazy for any pitcher! It's something most teams couldn't match. But, it's also probably more than most teams would have considered "fair market value." Yamamoto received more money than previously expected.
It also changes the way the rest of the market works. There are still several frontline starters out there. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain unsigned. It may have taken some finagling, but prior to the finalization of Yamamoto's contract, the Cardinals may have been able to afford one of these pitchers. At this point, they're probably no longer involved in the free-agent starter market.
That's because teams that truly missed on Yamamoto will need to pivot. They may be pressured to make a big move after whiffing. The Mets or Yankees could give Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell a deal in excess of $200MM. There's very little chance the Cardinals become players in that market. They just can't match those kinds of deals, especially for players who are aging. I'm somewhat relieved, as those deals would carry significant risk. Yamamoto is 25. Both Montgomery and Snell are now on the wrong side of 30, and both have significant questions surrounding their viability as aces.
It also must be stated that Yamamoto's deal doesn't just affect Montgomery and Snell. The effects of his historic signing will be felt all down the market. Every starter can now expect at least a slight increase in value. Pitching, which is always expensive, is even more expensive in the wake of such a contract. With the Cardinals now likely eliminated from the free-agent starter market, let's just be glad they got aggressive in November.