Yankees reportedly preparing to offer star Japanese pitcher huge contract

olympics: baseball-men semifinal - jpn-kor, yoshinobu yamamoto, yankees
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The New York Yankees find themselves at a crossroads as they face an exceptionally pivotal off-season. The sobering news that Jasson Dominguez will be absent for half of the 2024 season is far from uplifting for a team with World Series dreams. However, there’s still a chance to steer the ship in a more favorable direction—it’s just going to hit their wallet.

Financial Flexibility: The Cashman Spending Plan

General Manager Brian Cashman has some financial room to maneuver. He has $15 million from Luis Severino’s contract and an additional $7.5 million freed up from Frankie Montas. These funds are earmarked for a significant move in the pitching department. The good news? Cashman already has someone special in mind: Japanese phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Scouting Endeavors: Cashman’s Trip to Japan

Cashman didn’t just rely on scouts’ reports and video footage; he flew to Japan to witness Yamamoto’s talent firsthand. What he saw was nothing short of spectacular—a no-hitter performance that had the Yankees’ GM on his feet, applauding. Clearly, Yamamoto has struck a chord, reigniting the Yankees’ interest in the international talent pool.

Market Buzz: Yankees Ready to Go Big

According to Yahoo Sports Japan, the Yankees are prepared to pull out all the stops for this top-tier starting pitcher. The team is so committed to acquiring Yamamoto that Cashman personally attended his scheduled pitching game in Japan. However, they also have to consider the lurking threat of luxury taxes.

“The Yankees’ savior is Yamamoto, who is expected to transfer to the MLB through the posting system this offseason. An MLB official said, “It’s clear that the Yankees are moving to acquire Yamamoto. The best proof is that GM Cashman personally went to Japan on Yamamoto’s scheduled pitching date. The team also fears the risk of luxury taxes. “We are planning to spend big money on acquiring Yamamoto in No Limit.”

Budget Considerations: Allocating a $50 Million War Chest

The Yankees will have upwards of $50 million to play with in the upcoming free agency. They’ll need to allocate this budget judiciously, and investing in a young, durable talent like Yamamoto makes perfect sense. At 25, he has showcased immense promise, posting a jaw-dropping 1.26 ERA across 143 innings in this year’s Japan Pacific League.

Yamamoto’s Stellar Stats: Beyond the ERA

The 25-year-old’s statistics don’t just end with an impressive ERA. He has also conceded only 102 hits, 20 earned runs, and a mere two home runs while striking out 145 and walking just 24. While MLB’s competitive landscape is tougher, these numbers cannot be ignored.

Fit and Future: Yamamoto as a Yankee?

Yamamoto seems like the missing puzzle piece Cashman has been searching for. Yahoo suggested that the Yankees’ offer could dwarf the seven-year, $155 million contract given to Masahiro Tanaka back in the 2013 off-season.

“The offer is expected to be significantly higher than the seven-year total of $155 million (approximately 22.9 billion yen) for Masahiro Tanaka (currently with Rakuten), who joined the Yankees from Rakuten during the 2013 off-season. The Yankees will spend a huge amount of money this off-season to make him a free agent. He also started acquiring Shohei Ohtani from the Angels. However, there is also information circulating among MLB scouts that “Ohtani likes the West Coast and is not considering East Coast teams as a transfer target in the first place,” so it seems that the Yankees are quickly in a mode of giving up.”

Context and Competition: Rotation Prospects

If all goes according to plan, the Yankees’ starting rotation for the next year could be formidable, featuring names like Carlos Rodon, Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortés, Clarke Schmidt, and Michael King. The blend of experience and youthful exuberance could work wonders, provided they can sidestep the injury bug—a perennial issue for the Yankees.

It’s a high-stakes game, but one the Yankees are familiar with. The off-season decisions lie ahead, teeming with both risk and opportunity. Now, it’s up to Cashman and Co. to make the moves that will define the Yankees’ future.

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