The New York Yankees walked away from their meeting with Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Los Angeles feeling good about their chances at landing the star international pitcher. However, things are getting a bit more murky with the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers making significant plays for his signature.
Mets owner Steve Cohen traveled to Japan to meet Yamamoto in person, likely trying to sell him on the fact that the Amazins are looking to build a brand that is recognized internationally, and he could be the face of it.
However, the Mets have committed to a rebuild over the next few years and likely won’t be pushing for a World Series in the near term. The Yankees can offer international recognition, substantial money, and a chance to win the World Series in 2024. The only problem is that the Los Angeles Dodgers also have the same capability, including their willingness to spend big, courtesy of Shohei Ohtani deferring $680 million of his $700 million deal.
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The Yankees Have Stiff Competition to Complete the YamaSoto Sweepstakes
In fact, according to Fabian Ardaya and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers pulled out all the stops, including stars Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Ohtani, to help convince Yamamoto to join their ranks. That is a significant play, and it is clear they’re willing to spend and get his attention with some of the biggest names in baseball.
Fortunately, the Yankees have a few big players of their own, including Aaron Judge and newly acquired Juan Soto. Not to mention, they have the AL Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole, who could eventually hand over that ace moniker to Yamamoto in the future.
If the Japanese native wants to pitch under the bright lights and capture the biggest market, he must look no further than the Yankees. They can offer him a chance to be their ace down the road and a guarantee they will be competitive year in and year out. It is a difficult situation, though, since the Dodgers have home-field advantage at the current moment, hosting him at their stadium. The Bombers will need to step up their pursuit and remain aggressive.