The New York Yankees were expected to be one of the most active teams in this offseason as they are coming off a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs, and the Evil Empire of the MLB doesn't stay down for long. On Wednesday night, the Yankees swung the biggest trade of the offseason by finalizing their acquisition of star left fielder Juan Soto, sending away a few of their talented prospects to the San Diego Padres.
The Yankees are slowly building quite the intimidating lineup, with Soto, thanks to his elite ability to get on base, figuring to be the team's leadoff hitter, with Aaron Judge driving him in on the regular. But the Yankees are in need of some pitching reinforcement to cement themselves as a contender in the stacked AL East, and they remain in contention for the services of talented starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Securing Yamamoto's services isn't an easy task as plenty of teams are interested in getting the 25-year-old Japanese international's signature on the dotted line. But Yamamoto, it looks like, is imploring the Yankees to just show him the money and get the deal done.
“They all believe that he's the real deal. […] [Yankees special assistant to the general manager Omar] Minaya said, he even turned to Brian Cashman after [the no-hitter] was complete and said to him, ‘Pay me,'” Meredith Marakovits of YES Network recalled.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) December 7, 2023
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, beyond his amazing stats in Japan and his repeatable pitching mechanics and fastball velocity, turned the Yankees' heads by showing how competitive he is as a player. And it's important to note that Yamamoto is only 25 years old. He has a ton of room to grow, which could very well make him worth the amount he's demanding in free agency.
The Yankees should have no issues shelling out that kind of money as well as they have had success in signing talented pitchers from Japan in the past. Masahiro Tanaka was a very consistent starter for the Yankees from 2014 to 2020, but Yamamoto is expected to be an even better pitcher, so the expectations are high, especially if New York does end up securing his services.