The New York Yankees are beginning to start their pursuit of star international free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. General manager Brian Cashman sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is Yamamoto’s right arm.
Having already added Juan Soto to an outfield that desperately needed more power and left-handed bats, the Yankees can now focus on their starting rotation that needs reinforcements after losing three primary arms this off-season.
Both Frankie Montas and Luis Severino hit free agency, and the Yankees released Domingo German, who has drawn some interest in the open market. However, there is some hope the Yankees will bring back Montas on a one-year deal, but their focus is entirely on Yamamoto and securing a player who could be a high-end ace right off the bat.
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The Yankees Need Youth and Durability in the Rotation
At just 25 years old, Yamamoto fits the bill of youth, and the Yanks are trying to get more durable. The Japanese native has pitched a minimum of 170 innings for three consecutive years, including 171 this past season. In the JPPL specifically, he posted a 1.21 ERA, giving up 22 earned runs, two home runs, and collecting 169 strikeouts. This isn’t an ordinary pitcher making the transition to the MLB. This is a superstar-level talent at a young age that is primed for the transition. In fact, the Yankees have some prospects older than Yamamoto, which should deliver a clear indication of how good he actually is.
A nasty combination of pitches and legitimate upside should have coach Matt Blake salivating. In fact, the Yankees called in the big guns to put on the pressure, with Hal Steinbrenner attending the team’s meeting in Los Angeles on Monday. The last time Steinbrenner stepped into the middle of a deal, he signed Judge to a nine-year, $360 million contract. If Hal has anything to do with it, Yamamoto may be a Yankee by the end of the week, significantly bolstering the rotation and giving the Yankees one of the best units in baseball on paper.