Are Matsui, Tanaka part of the Yankees ploy to net Yamamoto in pinstripes?

Ex-Yankees Japanese stars Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka.

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The Yankees met to Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto in Los Angeles on Monday amid reports claiming that they were taking the help of Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka to convince the pitcher.

Andy Martino clarified on Sunday that the rumors or reports about Matsui and Tanaka attending the Yankees’ meeting with Yoshinobu Yamamoto in L.A. were inaccurate. He confirmed that neither Matsui nor Tanaka would be present at the meeting. However, Martino mentioned that Hal Steinbrenner and others from the Yankees’ team were in a strong position in the ongoing pursuit.

Conflicting reports about Yankees engaging Matsui and Tanaka

Jon Heyman mentioned on “Sports Nation Nightly” on PIX11 that the Yankees had a favorable opportunity to get Yamamoto. He noted the prestige associated with the Yankees’ brand, especially with their iconic pinstripes, which hold significant appeal for many overseas. Heyman indicated that Matsui and Tanaka would attend the meeting, highlighting their success stories as Japanese imports for the Yankees.

Regardless, it appears that the Yankees are ready to present a compelling offer for the 25-year-old ace. In the previous season, he achieved a remarkable 16-6 record with a 1.21 ERA and 169 strikeouts over 164 innings while playing for the Orix Buffaloes. This outstanding performance earned him the Sawamura Award, marking Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young Award, for the third consecutive year.

Nevertheless, they face stiff competition for his services, with the Mets, the Dodgers, and “every big-market team” expressing interest, as noted by Heyman.

In a recent appearance on “The Michael Kay Show,” ESPN’s Jeff Passan drew a comparison between Yamamoto and the peak performance of Tim Lincecum. Passan suggested that the Japanese ace is expected to secure a deal nearing $250 million before Christmas. Considering a posting fee exceeding $45 million, the team securing the services of the three-time Pacific League Most Valuable Player is likely to make a substantial investment approaching $300 million.

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