Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto garnered extensive interest from multiple MLB teams, including the New York Yankees, this off-season. As soon as his 45-day negotiation window opened, teams queued up with a lucrative offer. However, the three-time Pacific League MVP had made up his mind about the teams he would like to meet in person.
The New York Yankees were one of them. The two parties sat side by side in LA for the first round of talks. However, Yamamoto wasn’t satisfied and asked for a second round of meetings, which went on floors last week in Manhattan, New York. Recently, Yankee skipper Aaron Boone shared details about the meeting and also revealed how the Yanks added a human element to the high-stake pursuit.
Yankees Gifted Pinstripe Jersey No.18 To Yoshinobu Yamamoto!
While the New York Yankees appear as the losing side in the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes, the team left no stone unturned in its efforts. Most recently, manager Aaron Boone talked to the media and shared inside details of the second round of meetings held with Yamamoto in New York. He said an extended group of Yankee representatives met the ace last week. Moreover, to further add his personal touch, Boone apparently gifted a no.18 pinstripe jersey to Yamamoto and allowed him to keep it regardless of his off-season decision. No.18 holds a special place among Japanese baseball players. The number is traditionally worn by the team’s ace pitcher. And it symbolizes a level of excellence and leadership on the field.
Thus, the Yankees tried to build a strong impression by handing out a No. 18 jersey to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Besides, Aaron Boone also weighed his thoughts on the ace’s talent and skill set. Boone reckoned that Yamamoto was a special person and had an element of humility despite being a highly successful thrower. He is genuinely comfortable in his own skin and a great guy overall. Not only that, the skipper drew similarities between Yamamoto and Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. “There are some similarities between him and Gerrit [Cole] in how dedicated and disciplined they are and all-in they are on pitching and baseball and their body and how to be successful,” Boone added. Having said that, Boone’s efforts will likely end up in the losing cause as the Japanese pitcher appears to be headed to LA.
How Yanks Lost Yoshinobu Yamamoto Sweepstakes?
Meanwhile, the fans remain perplexed as to how the New York Yankees bowed out of Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes despite being favorites. Andy Martino of SNY told Sportsnite that the Yanks weren’t as aggressive in their pursuit as they were during Juan Soto’s trade negotiation. While the team offered a $300 million contract, the front office seemed unwilling to surpass the threshold.
“That tells you that they wanted him. But not beyond any reasonable doubt,” says Martino. Having said that, Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Dodgers move remains unconfirmed. Neither the Dodgers nor Yamamoto have made any official announcement. But as per rumors, Yoshinobu has agreed to a 12-year contract for a whopping $325 million salary. Thus making him the most expensive pitcher in the history of MLB. Ironically, Yamamoto has yet to debut in the big leagues.