Yoshinobu Yamamoto has now met with several interested parties twice, indicating that the long-awaited bidding war is set to commence. The New York Yankees met with Yamamoto over the weekend after he enjoyed dinner with Mets owner Steve Cohen.
If money is what Yamamoto wants, he certainly isn’t going to be falling short in that category. Some of the most aggressive suitors in the market are looking for a top-flight starting pitcher, and he fits the bill perfectly at just 25 years old. However, early reports that he had been offered $300 million were incorrect, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The expectation is that teams will start bidding on Yamamoto services shortly, and the Yankees will certainly be in the mix. Having pitched 164 innings in the JPPL last year, giving up 22 runs and just two homers, his signature is bound to be extremely expensive.
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The Yankees Have a Slim Lead
At this point, the Yankees seem to be favorites to land the Japanese international, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are making a strong push, and the Mets have an unlimited amount of money to spend.
Considering the Yankees lost four starting pitchers this off-season, it is safe to assume that they are willing to spend an ungodly amount to add an elite arm to the rotation. Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, Domingo German, and trading away Michael King have left the team shorthanded. That is not to mention they shredded their pitching farm and moved Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, two players who were expected to be essential pieces in 2024.
Even if the Yankees do land Yamamoto, they likely will need to bring another arm, which could be the return of Montas on a one year deal coming off an injury riddle 2023 season. The rotation is far from complete, but owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to spend and the team has 2024 World Series aspirations.
The Yanks aren’t going to defeat the Dodgers with their current roster, which makes Yoshinobu an even more important variable in this equation. Fortunately, the Yankees have a long and storied history of success with international players and can offer Yamamoto unmatched brand recognition and the chance to become the team’s ace down the road.