The New York Yankees are reportedly gearing up for an aggressive pursuit of international star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. While the allure of acquiring a young talent like Yamamoto is strong, the Yankees are aware of the inherent risks involved in transitioning international players to the MLB.
Yamamoto, at just 25, has already demonstrated impressive durability, pitching over 170 innings for three consecutive years. His potential to bring elite talent to the Bronx is evident, making him an attractive option for the Yankees.
Considering a Familiar Alternative
Despite the high interest in Yamamoto, the Yankees might consider a more cost-effective and familiar option. Left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, a former Yankee who recently celebrated a World Series victory, emerges as a viable alternative. Given that Yamamoto’s contract might hover around the $200 million mark, turning to Montgomery could offer the Yankees a balance of cost and proven performance.
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Montgomery’s Preference for Familiar Ground
“Jordan Montgomery won’t get $200M, but he may come closer than you think after finishing strong with the champion (Texas Rangers), highlighted by his domination of the rival (Houston Astros) in the (American League Championship Series),” reported Heyman. “Montgomery is believed to prefer a return to Texas to (the St. Louis Cardinals) or The Bronx, his previous stops.”
Montgomery’s Recent Performance
In the last season, Montgomery showcased his skills with a 3.42 ERA at St. Louis and an even more impressive 2.79 ERA with Texas. Overall, he achieved a 3.20 ERA over 188.2 innings, coupled with a 75.6% left-on-base rate and a 43.2% ground ball rate. His significant contribution in the postseason, with a 2.90 ERA across 31 innings, was instrumental in propelling the Rangers to the World Series.
The Yankees’ Decision: Upside or Proven Quality
The Yankees are now faced with a choice between the promising upside of Yamamoto and Montgomery’s proven quality. At 30 years old, Montgomery’s age is a consideration, especially if a contract extending over five years is on the table.
However, Montgomery has consistently shown durability, pitching at least 150 innings in three consecutive seasons. His steady improvement over the years, culminating in his best professional season this year, makes him a compelling option for the Yankees.