The New York Yankees met with superstar international pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Monday afternoon, which prompted owner Hal Steinbrenner to travel to Los Angeles for the pitch. The Yankees reportedly came away confident in their presentation, especially since they employed Hideki Matsui to support their cause.
However, the Bombers have plenty of competition for Yamamoto, who will have spoken with the Mets, Dodgers, Rangers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs. Currently, the Mets seem to be their most probable competitor for Yamamoto’s signature, but the Yankees are willing to spend, especially with 2024 seeming to be their big World Series pish after acquiring Juan Soto.
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The Yankees Need Yamamoto in Their Starting Rotation
Yamamoto would be an excellent addition to the starting rotation, not only because he can help in 2024 but also because he could end up becoming the team’s ace down the road. Gerrit Cole is only getting older, and while he just won the AL Cy Young award, eventually, he will hit a wall due to age and experience regression.
The Yanks need to have his successor in place, and the 25-year-old Japanese native could be the guy. At such a young age and showcasing durability, Yamamoto pitched 171 innings across all competitions last year. In the JPPL specifically, he enjoyed a 1.21 ERA, including 22 earned runs allowed, two homers, and collected 169 strikeouts. In fact, the Yankees sent a scout to every single one of his starts, and general manager Brian Cashman watched him throw a no-hitter in person.
It couldn’t be more obvious the Yankees desperately want his signature, and they have the international recognition and resources to get it done. In fact, Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes that the Yankees will sign Yamamoto to a nine-year, $304 million deal. That would average out at $33.7 million per season, a hefty price tag for a pitcher who hasn’t tossed an inning in the MLB.
However, this isn’t an ordinary arm. This is a 25-year-old that throws in the high 90s, including a nasty splitter and elite curveball. His pitches have unbelievable deception, and he projects to be an immediate ace-caliber player in the MLB. Having three premium starters would give the Yankees incredible leverage in the postseason, especially if Carlos Rodon manages to bounce back next year.