Yankees eyeing a rising star: MLB insider predicts Yoshinobu Yamamoto to shine in pinstripes
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In the wake of securing the services of superstar outfielder Juan Soto through a trade with the San Diego Padres, the New York Yankees are now setting their sights on the prized Japanese free agent starting pitcher, Yoshinobu Yamamoto. According to insights from Mark Feinsand at MLB.com, both the Yankees and their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets, emerge as front-runners in the pursuit of Yamamoto’s signature.
The Yamamoto sweepstakes
With three consecutive Pacific League Most Valuable Player awards under his belt, the 25-year-old right-hander is in high demand. Mets owner Steve Cohen recently engaged with Yamamoto during a visit to Japan, adding another layer of competition to the mix. Notably, other formidable teams, including the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Toronto Blue Jays, have also expressed interest in acquiring Yamamoto’s talents.
Insiders suggest that the impending decision is likely to be a showdown between the Mets and the Yankees. Both franchises recognize a pressing need for the acclaimed pitcher, and anticipation is building for what could be an engaging battle for his services. As one source aptly put it, “Get your popcorn ready. This could be fun.”
“This is going to come down to the Mets and Yankees,” one source said. “They both think they need him badly — and they do. Get your popcorn ready. This could be fun.”
The financial stakes are substantial, with projections hinting at a contract exceeding $200 million for Yamamoto. Such a deal would elevate the Yankees beyond the luxury tax threshold of $297 million set by Mets owner Steve Cohen. Despite missing the postseason for the first time since 2016, the Yankees appear poised to surpass a $300 million payroll, underscoring their determination to secure Yamamoto.
Scheduled meetings between the Yankees and Yamamoto in the U.S. on Monday further emphasize the seriousness of their pursuit. If successful, Yamamoto would seamlessly fit into the Yankees’ pitching rotation as a formidable No. 2 starter alongside AL Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole. While the Yankees previously brought in Carlos Rodon to complement Cole, his inaugural season with the team was marred by injuries and underperformance.
While the Yankees are strong contenders in the Yamamoto sweepstakes, the Mets, having yet to make a significant move this offseason, remain a formidable competitor. In the event that the Yankees fall short in their bid for Yamamoto, a potential reunion with left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery is on the horizon, providing an alternative path for bolstering their pitching staff. As the negotiations unfold, the baseball world watches with bated breath to see where Yoshinobu Yamamoto will ultimately call home for the next chapter of his illustrious career.
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