The Yankees are in the thick of it for the signature of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who traveled to New York over the weekend to meet with the New York Mets. Yamamoto had dinner at Steve Cohen’s private residence, but he did request to meet with the Yankees as well, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
It seems as if Yamamoto is still undecided, given he has met with some teams more than once. The highly coveted free-agent pitcher would be a godsend to a rotation that desperately needs another elite arm to pair with Gerrit Cole. The Yankees did sign Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal last off-season, but he was disappointing during his first year in pinstripes.
Yamamoto is just 25 years old and is coming off another dominant season in the JPPL. He pitched 164 innings, hosting a 1.21 ERA, giving up 22 earned runs and just two homers. He struck out 169 batters. Given his age and durability, he’s the perfect fit for the Yankees and could end up taking over the ace moniker in the future, depending on the length of the deal.
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The Yankees Are Keeping Their Eyes Open
However, general manager Brian Cashman has his eyes on several alternatives in case Yamamoto decides to sign elsewhere. The Mets have an unlimited amount of money and are trying to build an international brand, so he could be a part of that strategy. Nonetheless, the Yankees have a number of former Japanese players who have advocated on their behalf, but Shohei Ohtani and a star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers team is certainly enticing, too.
The expectations at Yamamoto will make a decision before Christmas, which would mean this week we’d have an answer. Fortunately, his desire to meet with the Yankees a second time on Sunday bodes well for their chances, and hopefully, they did enough to impress him.