Yankees making big push for starting pitcher ‘they desperately want’

olympics: baseball-men semifinal - jpn-kor, yoshinobu yamamoto, yankees
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees need a premium starting pitcher and everybody knows it. After sending Michael King to the San Diego Padres in the deal that brought Juan Soto to the Bronx, they have a major hole that needs filling.

Fortunately, ownership is keen on spending aggressively and making a strong push for international star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. If you were to tell most fans they would walk away from the 2024 off-season with Soto and Yamamoto, they would likely call you crazy. However, the Yankees are committed to winning a championship, if not at least reaching the World Series.

Early reports indicate that the team had a great meeting with Yamamoto over in Los Angeles. General manager Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and pitching Coach Matt Blake all attended the meeting, in addition to their support from Hideki Matsui, who is an advisor to the team.

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees “desperately want” Yamamoto and they feel like they are in the driver’s seat.

“I spoke to someone who is familiar with what happened in this interaction, and they described the Yankees as feeling very positive about their pursuit of Yamamoto.”

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The Yankees Can Create a Dominant Pitching Rotation

Pairing Yoshinobu with Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon at the top of the rotation would be a fantastic scenario going into the 2024 season. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher out of Japan tossed 171 innings across all competitions this past season. He pitched 164 innings specifically in the JPPL, giving up 22 earned runs, two homers, and collecting 169 strike out with a 1.21 ERA. His stuff should transition seamlessly to the MLB, even if the baseball is a bit heavier and opposing batters provide more resistance. He may not finish with an ERA below 2.00, but he should hover in the ace range and as he acclimates to the next level of talent, Yamamoto could become the top arm on the Yankees down the line as Cole regresses with age.

Of course, the Yankees will have to stifle the New York Mets and several other teams interested in his services. Mets owner Steve Cohen traveled to Japan to meet with Yamamoto personally, which certainly showcases their interest. However, the Yankees can offer financial resources and a chance to win a World Series in 2024, whereas the Mets are looking to rebuild over the next few years.