Yankees offered Yamamoto a better contract and he still declined

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

In a perfect world, the New York Yankees would have Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed as one of their top starting pitchers entering the 2024 season. Unfortunately, the stars didn’t align, despite an aggressive push and desire for the Japanese international to join their ranks.

The Yankees will have to pivot in different directions now, whether it be via the trade market or the remaining free agent arms. However, general manager Brian Cashman made Yamamoto an aggressive offer, arguably better than the deal the Los Angeles Dodgers ended up signing him to.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees offered Yamamoto a great contract, including earlier opt-outs and more money upfront:

“The Yankees offered Yamamoto a higher average annual value than the Dodgers, an earlier opt-out and more money in the first five years, according to sources briefed on the respective proposals.”

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The Yankees Didn’t Want to Push to $325 Million

Yamamoto ended up signing a 12 year, $325 million deal with several outs, but while the Yankees contract came in a bit cheaper, it included more money in the earlier seasons and an opt out that beat the Dodgers’ offer, which would’ve given him an opportunity to cash in if his stuff continues to improve.

The Dodgers gave him a $50 million signing bonus, but the salary was backloaded so he can stick it out through the longevity of it or try to land a new deal elsewhere in the future.

The New York Mets also gave him 12 years and $325 million, but clearly he had an affinity for joining the Dodgers, who recently signed Shohei Ohtani to a $700 million contract this off-season.

The Yankees’ offer averaged $30 million per season, $3 million more than the Dodgers deal. The opt out was in the fifth year, according to Rosenthal, whereas the Dodgers had it in the sixth and ninth years. The Yankees obviously save a boatload of money in this situation, since Yamamoto got a $50 million signing bonus on top of the $325 million contract and the Dodgers had to pay $46.875 million to the Orix Buffaloes in a posting fee.

The Yanks were more than willing to give up the money for his services, but it seemed that his fate was sealed after meeting with several Los Angeles stars during a meeting at Dodgers Stadium and spending a few days in Southern California. With perfect weather and a super team in the making, the Yankees lose out on this conquest, which puts them in a turbulent spot.

At the very least, they have over $300 million available at their disposal to spend in free agency and allocate toward a Juan Soto contract extension next next off-season.