Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Brian Cashman

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s free agency was the most followed and exciting moment of this year’s MLB off-season. From the New York Yankees to the New York Mets to the LA Dodgers, literally, every other big-ball club aggressively pursued the NPB ace before the mighty Dodgers eventually had the last laugh.

However, Yamamoto’s signing to LA Dodgers caught the New York Yankees off guard as they were touted as the top landing spot after the pitcher met with the front office twice. Meanwhile, MLB insider Bob Nightengale revealed for the first time as to why the Japanese ace ditched the Yanks at the last moment to move to LA.


Shohei Ohtani Reportedly Helped LA Dodgers Recruit Yoshinobu Yamamoto!

Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Yoshinobu Yamamoto Source: Sports Illustrated

Japanese ace pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was a hot pick this off-season as he transitioned into MLB after 8 successful years in NPB. He was aggressively pursued by large spending ball clubs before the fight eventually reduced between the New York Yankees and New York Mets. Notably, Yamamoto was deeply moved by New York City’s vibrant sporting culture and hence strongly considered signing with either of the city’s rivals. The ace met with the Yanks front office twice, once in LA and then in New York, where skipper Aaron Boone allegedly gifted a no.18 pinstripes jersey to Yamamoto to add a personal touch. However, the Japanese pitcher ignored everything to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers instead in a 12-year, $325 million, which is the most expensive contract ever offered to a pitch in MLB.

That being said, Bob Nightengale of USA Today recently revealed that Yoshinobu Yamamoto was close to signing with either the New York Yankees or the New York Mets before his Japanese colleague Shohei Ohtani helped the LA Dodgers to recruit him. Apparently, Yamamoto wanted a familiar face in the roster ahead of his much anticipated MLB transition. And when Ohtani signed a ground-breaking contract with the Dodgers, Yamamoto was automatically lured towards LA. Bob suggests that Yamamoto likely changed his mind overnight, and the additional $25 million also played a huge role. Even Aaron Boone revealed that since landing in LA, the Japanese ace grew close to the city, which eventually led to a fallout. Regardless, the Bombers were adamant about not wanting to pay any pitcher a penny larger than Gerrit Cole and refused to budge over the $300 million offer.

Gerrit Cole’s Injury Adds To Yankees Misery!

Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole (r.) speaks with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner (l.) earlier in spring training. Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

After failing to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto in challenging free agency, the New York Yankees lost their ace Gerrit Cole in spring due to nerve inflammation injury in pitching elbow. He was placed on 60-day IL subsequently. But fortunately avoided season ending surgery. However, while Yamamoto is living his dream with Dodgers, Cole remains under rehabilitation.

Gerrit Cole was initially shut down for four weeks before he resumed throwing around mid-April. He threw a bullpen session last weekend for the first time since his injury. While Cole will be eligible to return to Yankees rotation after May 27, he is likely to skip the timeline due to lack of full fledged spring build up which usually takes around six weeks.

Stay tuned with Sports News International for more such updates about your favorite MLB team.