Confident Yankees reserves No. 18 for Yamamoto

Yoshinobu-Yamamoto

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The New York Yankees’ admiration for Japanese standout starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is genuine, and they have been preparing for his potential arrival for the past year. As reported by SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees have held aside his preferred jersey number, 18, since the beginning of the 2023 season.

According to the report, No. 18 has been Yamamoto’s jersey number with the Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes and holds significance as the “ace” number in Japan.

Martino mentioned that the Yankees refrained from assigning No. 18 to any of their players last season; it was worn by outfielder Andrew Benintendi in 2022. Having scouted Yamamoto for at least the past year, the Yankees are considered strong contenders to secure his services. The Yankees are envisioning a formidable 1-2 pitching duo with Yamamoto complementing Gerrit Cole.

Japanese athlete Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Reddit

Yankees remain focused on Yamamoto

Yamamoto, at the age of 25, is anticipated to secure a lucrative, long-term deal surpassing $200 million, in addition to the posting fee. This right-handed power pitcher, a three-time recipient of the Japanese Cy Young equivalent, boasts an impressive career with the Orix Buffaloes, holding a remarkable 1.72 ERA over seven seasons. In the last season, his dominance continued, with a stellar 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and an impressive 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings across 171 frames.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto
AP

It’s noteworthy that the iconic No. 18 jersey, worn by former Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda throughout his professional baseball career, including his tenure with the Yankees from 2012-2014, holds significance. Another Japanese pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, chose to wear No. 19 as a gesture of respect to Kuroda during their overlapping time on the team for one season.

Yamamoto’s posting occurred at the end of November, and his 45-day signing window commenced on Nov. 21. He holds the opportunity to sign a deal with a major league team until Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. ET. As reported by Martino, Yamamoto is actively participating in phone calls and Zoom meetings and is expected to attend in-person meetings during the Winter Meetings from Dec. 4-7.

However, the Yankees have to compete with the Mets to secure Yamamoto.

  Yankees Who Wore No 18Year
Wilcy Moore 1929 New York Yankees
Bill Henderson 1930 New York Yankees
Lou McEvoy 1930 New York Yankees
Tom Zachary 1930 New York Yankees
Red Ruffing 1931 New York Yankees
Johnny Allen 1932 New York Yankees
Johnny Allen 1933 New York Yankees
Johnny Allen 1934 New York Yankees
Johnny Allen 1935 New York Yankees
Art Jorgens 1936 New York Yankees
Art Jorgens 1937 New York Yankees
Art Jorgens 1938 New York Yankees
Art Jorgens 1939 New York Yankees
Steve Peek 1941 New York Yankees
Johnny Lindell 1942 New York Yankees
Johnny Lindell 1943 New York Yankees
Johnny Johnson 1944 New York Yankees
Tuck Stainback 1945 New York Yankees
Karl Drews 1946 New York Yankees
Randy Gumpert 1946 New York Yankees
Randy Gumpert 1947 New York Yankees
Randy Gumpert 1948 New York Yankees
Bob Porterfield 1948 New York Yankees
Fenton Mole 1949 New York Yankees
Bob Porterfield 1949 New York Yankees
Dave Madison 1950 New York Yankees
Bob Porterfield 1950 New York Yankees
Jack Kramer 1951 New York Yankees
Bob Muncrief 1951 New York Yankees
Jim McDonald 1952 New York Yankees
Ray Scarborough 1952 New York Yankees
Jim McDonald 1953 New York Yankees
Jim McDonald 1954 New York Yankees
Don Larsen 1955 New York Yankees
Don Larsen 1956 New York Yankees
Don Larsen 1957 New York Yankees
Don Larsen 1958 New York Yankees
Don Larsen 1959 New York Yankees
Eli Grba 1960 New York Yankees
Fred Kipp 1960 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1961 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1962 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1963 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1964 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1965 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1966 New York Yankees
Steve Barber 1967 New York Yankees
Hal Reniff 1967 New York Yankees
Steve Barber 1968 New York Yankees
Mike Kekich 1969 New York Yankees
Mike Kekich 1970 New York Yankees
Mike Kekich 1971 New York Yankees
Mike Kekich 1972 New York Yankees
Mike Hegan 1973 New York Yankees
Mike Kekich 1973 New York Yankees
Dave Pagan 1973 New York Yankees
Mike Hegan 1974 New York Yankees
Larry Murray 1974 New York Yankees
Dave Bergman 1975 New York Yankees
Larry Murray 1975 New York Yankees
Ellie Hendricks 1976 New York Yankees
Tippy Martinez 1976 New York Yankees
Ellie Hendricks 1977 New York Yankees
Dennis Sherrill 1978 New York Yankees
Brian Doyle 1979 New York Yankees
Brian Doyle 1980 New York Yankees
Larry Milbourne 1981 New York Yankees
Larry Milbourne 1982 New York Yankees
Mike Patterson 1982 New York Yankees
Andre Robertson 1982 New York Yankees
Rodney Scott 1982 New York Yankees
Andre Robertson 1983 New York Yankees
Andre Robertson 1984 New York Yankees
Andre Robertson 1985 New York Yankees
Claudell Washington 1986 New York Yankees
Claudell Washington 1987 New York Yankees
Claudell Washington 1988 New York Yankees
Jamie Quirk 1989 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1989 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1990 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1991 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1992 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1993 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1994 New York Yankees
Randy Velarde 1995 New York Yankees
Mariano Duncan 1996 New York Yankees
Mariano Duncan 1997 New York Yankees
Andy Fox 1997 New York Yankees
Scott Brosius 1998 New York Yankees
Scott Brosius 1999 New York Yankees
Scott Brosius 2000 New York Yankees
Scott Brosius 2001 New York Yankees
Marcus Thames 2002 New York Yankees
Jeff Weaver 2002 New York Yankees
Jeff Weaver 2003 New York Yankees
Homer Bush 2004 New York Yankees
John Olerud 2004 New York Yankees
Bubba Crosby 2005 New York Yankees
Andy Phillips 2005 New York Yankees
Johnny Damon 2006 New York Yankees
Johnny Damon 2007 New York Yankees
Johnny Damon 2008 New York Yankees
Johnny Damon 2009 New York Yankees
Chad Moeller 2010 New York Yankees
Andruw Jones 2011 New York Yankees
Hiroki Kuroda 2012 New York Yankees
Hiroki Kuroda 2013 New York Yankees
Hiroki Kuroda 2014 New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius 2015 New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius 2016 New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius 2017 New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius 2018 New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius 2019 New York Yankees
Rougned Odor 2021 New York Yankees
Andrew Benintendi 2022 New York Yankee

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