Yankees set to meet with top free agent pitcher Monday, per MLB insider

Olympics: Baseball-Men Semifinal - JPN-KOR
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees potentially on the cusp of landing Juan Soto, the second part of the now dubbed ‘YamaSoto’ offseason plan is also developing. Jon Morosi of MLB Network has confirmed that the Yankees are set to meet with Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Monday in the United States, a meeting that the team is heavily prepared for. It’s been reported that the 25-year-old ace is intrigued by the allure of the Bronx, and the two parties have a strong mutual interest, although his market is robust.

The Yankees will have to fend off some of the top spenders in baseball, but they’ll begin the process of luring Yamamoto to the Bronx next week.

Yankees Gearing Up For Highly-Anticipated Bidding War

Olympics: Baseball-Men Semifinal - JPN-KOR
Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) and Team Japan catcher Takuya Kai (10) against Korea in a baseball semifinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto cannot be overstated, as the team has not only reserved the number 18 team for him, but they’ve spoken glowingly about the international phenom as well. Brian Cashman revealed to the media yesterday that he actually saved the ticket from the game he attended in Japan when he saw the 25-year-old twirl his second no-hitter of the season, and the talent is remarkable. Yamamoto possesses a deep pitch mix alongside excellent command that’s allowed him to be Japan’s top pitcher for years.

Over the past three seasons, Yamamoto has won three straight MVPs and three straight Cy Youngs in the NPB, adding a World Baseball Classic title and an NPB title to his resume as well. He’s simply remarkable, sporting a minuscule 1.44 ERA, and his ability to get swings and misses coupled with his contact management is downright special. Scouts have raved about a splitter that’s been not only an effective strikeout pitch but a reliable groundball pitch as well that could make the Yankees an excellent fit.

Furthermore, if the Yankees are to trade away top pitchers in a Juan Soto deal, the fit for Yamamoto not only becomes more apparent, but it could get the fanbase energized for a huge 2024 season.

mlb: game one-new york yankees at boston red sox, michael king
Sep 14, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael King (34) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

If the Yankees part ways with Michael King, it would certainly sting given the upside and what he showed in September, but it would be remedied by the addition of an arm like Yamamoto. Other teams are also vying for his services, with many saying the New York Mets are highly motivated to pay a pretty penny. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are currently tied up in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, could pivot to Yamamoto if they fail to land the two-way phenom, as Yamamoto reportedly grew up a fan of the team.

The Boston Red Sox are also expected to get in the bidding way for Yamamoto, as they need a starter at the top of their rotation, and the Giants and Cubs have been linked to him as well. All signs are pointing towards a bidding war of massive proportions, but with the Yankees looking to leverage Japanese icons like Hideki Matsui and their worldwide brand, they could end up edging out the competition for one of the best talents we’ve ever seen come over from Japan.

He’s an ace in every sense, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to land a 25-year-old ace for nothing but money on the open market.