Yankees could upgrade starting rotation with elite Japanese pitcher

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Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ starting rotation has been anything but stable this season, signaling the potential for significant changes in the coming winter. Both Frankie Montas and Luis Severino are set to enter free agency, which could free up financial resources for the Yankees to target alternative pitching talent.

Brian Cashman’s Potential Target: Yoshinobu Yamamoto

General Manager Brian Cashman, assuming he remains with the team, has his eyes on Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The 25-year-old Japanese pitcher is in the midst of a standout season with the Orix Buffaloes. Yamamoto is not just any pitcher; he’s someone who could really shake things up for the Yankees’ rotation.

MLB Teams on the Scouting Trail

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees, along with multiple other teams like the Mets, Red Sox, and Cardinals, recently scouted Yamamoto. The Japanese pitcher had a stellar outing, showcasing his exceptional talent.

“The Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Cardinals were among at least 10 teams to scout Orix Buffaloes right-handed star Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s start Wednesday, and he impressed over seven scoreless innings with poise, focus and athleticism, and also with several solid-to-plus pitches — including a four-seamer up to 97 mph, cutter, curveball and splitter. “

Yamamoto’s Dominant Stats

This season, Yamamoto has been a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Over 127 innings, he has an impressive 1.42 ERA, surrendered only two home runs, giving up just 98 hits, and issued a mere 20 walks, all while striking out 128 batters. It’s safe to say he’s primed for an MLB debut, as Orix is expected to post him this upcoming winter.

Yankees’ Financial Outlook: Plenty of Room for a Star

With Montas and Severino underperforming due to various issues like inconsistencies and injuries, the Yankees should have a sizeable budget to land a top-tier player like Yamamoto, should they choose to go that route.

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A Nod to Past International Acquisitions

Last winter, the New York Mets successfully acquired Kodai Senga, another international pitcher who’s been solid this season. The Yankees’ last significant international investment was in Masahiro Tanaka, who has yet to return to play overseas. Given their past successes with international talent, Yamamoto seems like a perfect fit, thanks to his elite pitch variety and stellar velocity.