Yankees are ‘ahead of the pack’ on 25-year-old ace according to MLB insider

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Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees are heavily involved in the Juan Soto sweepstakes, they have also remained heavily involved in the bidding for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Meetings have begun over Zoom, and Bob Klapisch of NJ.com released an article with an interesting quote he got from an American League executive. In regards to the Yankees’ standing on Yamamoto, apparently “The Yankees are telling people they’re ahead of the pack on (Yoshinobu) Yamamoto. Like, way ahead.”, which would indicate that New York has done well in the initial meetings, but so have the Giants.

Interest is there from the Bronx Bombers, who will try to use their pockets and allure to land one of the best talents we’ve seen in the international pool in baseball history.

Rumors Swirling of Yankees’ Desire to Land Yamamoto

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Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) reacts against Korea in a baseball semifinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have made it clear that they want Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has been the best pitcher in Japan according to WAR, ERA, FIP, and various other metrics over the past three seasons. In that timespan, he’s won three straight Triple Crowns, three straight Cy Youngs, and three straight MVPs, cementing him as the best pitcher in the entire nation. At just 25 years old, teams view him as somebody to anchor their rotation for an extremely long time, and that has generated plenty of interest from various teams across the sport.

It’s expected that the Dodgers, Mets, and Giants are heavily involved in the sweepstakes, and that’ll drive his price tag through the roof. Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes that bidding could get close to $300 million, and given his young age it wouldn’t be shocking to see a team make a 10-year offer to Yamamoto. Jack Curry on YES Network’s ‘Hot Stove’ mentioned that the team “highly desires” the Japanese ace, and he seems to be a massive point of emphasis for the Bronx Bombers’ offseason plans.

A move like this could give the Yankees more comfort in dealing an arm like Michael King for Juan Soto, as Yamamoto would immediately slot in as the team’s second starter. The pressure to do something big looms heavy over the Yankees and their front office, and with how disgruntled the fanbase is, making a splash could not only regain some good favor with them but also generate interest to head to the ballpark. Knowing this, the Yankees are expected to roll out the red carpet to try and land Yamamoto, and that means using one of their most iconic international stars.

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Sep 9, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Former New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui at Old Timer’s Day before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Hideki Matsui has already been used to lure Yamamoto to the Bronx according to Bob Klapisch, and Jack Curry last night mentioned that it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team try to have him at those meetings. The 2009 World Series MVP is a Japanese icon, as he was one of the best players in the nation’s history when he was in the NPB, and immediately became a fan-favorite in the Bronx. In his seven-year run in the Bronx, Matsui had a .370 OBP and 124 wRC+, while also having one of the most iconic performances by a Yankee in recent memory.

Ambushing Pedro Martinez and the Phillies’ pitching staff in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, the outfielder affectionally known as “Godzilla” drove in six of the Yankees’ seven runs on the day. The win would put the Yankees back on top, claiming their 27th World Series title, and it seems as if the allure that comes with winning a World Series title for an iconic franchise entices the young ace. He’s also extremely fond of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and with reports coming out that the Mets are also highly motivated to land his services, the Yankees are in for a bidding war.