The New York Yankees want Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and they’re willing to spend for him. Reportedly, Yamamoto’s price tag is rising quickly, but the Yankees, despite landing Juan Soto and his estimated $30 million in arbitration, are gearing up to make another massive play at the top free-agent pitcher on the market.
The New York Mets are believed to be heavily pursuing Yamamoto, and Steve Cohen has unlimited money to spend. Nonetheless, general manager Brian Cashman indicated that the Yankees are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and spend big this off-season, turning back the clock and pushing toward a World Series appearance.
Acquiring Soto on a one-year rental deal means the Yankees have a short window if he decides to sign elsewhere in free agency next year. However, if they want to go all in right now, they certainly have the resources to land Yamamoto and add a few decent depth pieces to bolster the squad.
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Per Andy Martino of SNY, the Yankees are expected to be anggressive after landing Soto — Hal Steinbrenner is doing his best George impression, spending his way through adversity.
“The Yankees, meanwhile, have a strong desire to land Yamamoto and a willingness to show Evil Empire levels of financial aggressiveness. The Mets had hoped that the Yanks’ acquisition of Juan Soto would take them out of the Yamamoto sweepstakes, but Hal Steinbrenner remains all-in on spending even after completing the Soto trade, per sources.”
Yamamoto is the Perfect Pitcher for the Yankees
Yamamoto is coming off a dominant season in the JPP with the Orix Buffaloes. At 25 years old, he pitched at least 170 innings over the past three seasons, giving up just 22 earned runs and two homers in 2023. He’s young and durable, two traits the Yankees desperately need to improve. They’ve already acquired a player in Soto that offers those two benefits, but they need another reliable arm to help them down the stretch, especially if they can’t rely on Carlos Rodon to bounce back in 2024 — they need a high-level insurance policy.
It is going to be interesting to see how much the Yankees and Mets outbid each other for Yamamoto, but the Yankees are ready to make a run, and the Mets are still trying to rebuild, so Cohen may have a line he prefers not to cross.