Yankees preparing to face off against home-town rival for star international pitcher

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

The MLB hot stove is starting to heat up with the 2023 season coming to an end and the New York Yankees looking to reinforce the roster. One of the biggest free-agent talents on the market is international pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. You’ve likely heard this name a number of times already, and the Yankees are expected to be significant players for his services.

Yankees could get into a bidding war with the Mets for Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Yamamoto has the potential to be an ace in the future, which could be a perfect sequence of events once Gerrit Cole naturally hits a wall and starts to regress. However, to land Yoshinobu in free agency, the Yankees will have to fend off their hometown rival New York Mets.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets are expected to be big players for Yamamoto, but the Bombers will be equally as aggressive.

“Bidding hasn’t even started yet, but the strong early feel at GM meetings from people in the know is that Mets would have a tougher time landing him than Yankees. But both are in.”

The Orix Buffaloes are expected to post Yamamoto soon, giving him 45 days to reach an agreement with a major league team. Of course, the Mets and Yankees are just two of the expected several potential buyers, but unless teams are willing to spend at least $150 million on him, the likely aggressors will dwindle down to a few clubs.

What could Yoshinobu Yamamoto bring to New York?

Yamamoto pitched 171 total innings this past season, including 164 in the JPPL. He featured a 1.21 ERA, giving up 117 hits, 22 earned runs, two homers, and collecting 169 strikeouts. In his final appearance of the season in the Japan Series, Yamamoto collected 14 strikeouts and pitched a complete game, tossing 138 pitches.

After giving up seven earned runs on 10 hits in less than six innings in game one of the series, he bounced back in a big way, showcasing his resiliency and ability to forget a poor performance quickly.

“I went to the mound able to concentrate really well,” Yamamoto said, according to Kyodo News. “I’m very happy that I was able to deliver the goods right until the end. The crowd’s cheers at the start of the ninth really gave me a boost.”

With an elite makeup of pitches and velocity, his transition to the MLB should be seamless, and the Yankees are hoping he could potentially help lock down the rotation for years to come.

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