Credit: KYODO

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a person of interest for the New York Yankees. They wanted a solid anchor to ace Gerrit Cole, and thus, the Japanese ace emerged as a perfect fit candidate. Having said that, Yamamoto’s pursuit won’t be an easy ride. He is expected to fetch over $200 million during free agency.

Meanwhile, the Yankees also need a designated closer. For long, the team relied on multiple relievers to do the job. However, the absence of a closer was deeply felt by the team during the 2023 season. To fill that void, the Yanks have eyes set on another Japanese pitcher who could make his way to Major League Baseball in 2024.


Japanese Closer Yuki Matsui: A Person Of Interest For Yankees!

Yuki Matsui
Rakuten’s Yuki Matsui fires a pitch in the ninth inning against Seibu on Wednesday night in Sendai. The Yomiuri Shimbun

Yuki Matsui, a left-handed closer, spent the entirety of his professional career with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. He featured in the Nippon Baseball League for a decade. And is now set to take a big league into MLB. As per Yahoo Japan, Matsui will enter free agency in 2024, and the New York Yankees have emerged as potential suitors along with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals. Speaking of numbers, the closer has a 2.43 ERA across 10 years with 236 saves. Moreover, he consistently displayed the attributes of a dominant closer, including a blazing fastball, a wicked slider, and impeccable control. If Yuki meets Yamamoto in the Bronx, the duo will be a force to reckon with.

The New York Yankees, who heavily relied on Gerrit Cole to produce wins in 2023, would need the services of both Yamamoto and Matsui. They dropped many games during crucial stretches by blowing out leads in the ninth inning. Thus, a closer of Matsui’s caliber will ensure prolonged success in pinstripes. Having said that, just like Yamamoto, even Yuki Matsui won’t come cheap. His storied resume will double his market value. With Yamamoto already eating up around $200 million of payroll, will the Yanks take the plunge for Matsui? Interesting and crucial times ahead as the Bronx Bombers navigate their way through a tough off-season to fall back into the World Series contention.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Increased Inclination Towards MLB Should Encourage Bombers!

Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Buffaloes pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 11 starts. | KYODO

Amid heated speculations, rumors have it that Yoshinobu Yamamoto has made his intentions of joining MLB in 2024 very clear. After spending significant time in the Nippon Baseball League, the pitcher wants to take a step forward and go global. Now, this should encourage the New York Yankees as they have been highly invested in him for the past few months.

Brian Cashman and co. made multiple trips to Japan to scout Yoshinobu Yamamoto personally. The pitcher even pitched a no-hitter game in the presence of Cashman, which apparently left the Yankee general manager in awe. However, the Yankees are expected to encounter major competition as the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox are ready to play spoilsport. Still, Hal Steinbrenner’s pockets are expected to throw out all the competition through the window.