By most accounts, the New York Yankees lead the pack for Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s signature, but he’s now expected to take a bit longer than originally anticipated to make a decision. In fact, Yamamoto could wait until after Christmas to pick his new destination, but his most recent visit to the East Coast tells a pretty specific story.
Yamamoto requested meetings with both the New York Mets and Yankees this past weekend, enjoying dinner at Steve Cohen’s personal residence and linking up with the Yankee brass on Sunday.
Based on the amount of money he’s going to earn and his desire to pitch on the biggest stage, the Yankees obviously make the most sense, but the Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t out of the mix either, given their star status and investment in a World Series caliber operation. They recently acquired Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Glasnow to bolster both their pitching and hitting.
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The Yankees Can’t Afford to Let Yamamoto Slip Through Their Fingers
However, the Yankees simply can’t let the Dodgers get Yamamoto, a 25-year-old international star who hosted a 1.21 ERA across 164 innings pitched in the JPPL last season. He gave up just 22 earned runs and two homers, collecting 169 strikeouts. The Bombers need this type of arm in their rotation, even if it’s going to cost around $300 million. He could be their ace in the future, and the contract will look like a steal down the road.
With that being said, Yamamoto made his intentions clear this past weekend, electing to pass on visiting both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Given the fact he requested meetings personally with both New York teams and avoided Boston, it is safe to say their chances of landing his services are falling quickly. Boston never really had a strong probability of securing him, but this should end that storyline.
Jon Morosi of the MLB Network indicated that Yamamoto was looking for the brightest lights and the biggest stage, both of which the Yankees can offer. Having recently acquired Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto, they are gearing up for a World Series push in 2024, and they need another top-flight starter to pair with Gerrit Cole. Relying on Carlos Rodon to bounce back is fine, but they need to have an insurance policy, and a young, durable talent like Yoshi fits perfectly.