This off-season, the free agent who made the most noise besides Shohei Ohtani was Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He got posted in November and took an eternity to sign a deal. While the New York Yankees stayed in the hunt till the last moment, the LA Dodgers claimed him in an expensive deal.
Yamamoto toyed around with the Yankees for a while. He met the officials twice at different locations. On the other hand, the Bronx Bombers’ front office also added a personal touch to lure the ace starting pitcher. However, the sweepstakes fell apart when the Yanks were asked to elevate the monetary stakes. MLB insider Bryan Hoch recently decoded the reason for the resistance.
Yankees Declined $325 Million Offer To Yoshinobu Yamamoto For Gerrit Cole!
After the second round of meetings held between the New York Yankees and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the former was labeled as a favorite landing spot. Apparently, Aaron Boone claimed that he added personal touches to impress the ace pitcher. The manager lent him a pinstripes jersey of no.18 and also allowed him to keep it if he wanted to. Additionally, the Bombers played a video message from Yankee legend Hideki Matsui to lure the pitcher to the Bronx further. However, things fell apart when the Yanks had to match the Dodgers’ offer. After Hal Steinbrenner tabled a $300 million offer for Yamamoto for 10 years, LA countered it by offering $325 million. For a franchise like the Yanks, adding an extra $25 million is no big deal.
But in Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s case, it ended up being the deal breaker. As per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees had two reasons not to cross the $300 million threshold. Firstly, the team considered it a generous offer for someone who hasn’t pitched in MLB. Secondly, the front office didn’t believe that any pitcher should have a deal bigger than that of Gerrit Cole. The Yankee ace was earlier the league’s most expensive pitcher as he signed a $324 million deal with the club back in 2019. He has remained the team’s front-line pitcher for a while now and led the American League in several pitching charts this season. He is arguably one of the best pitchers in the league, and the Bombers surely respect his stature. They simply didn’t want to give his space to anyone else, let alone someone who has yet to debut in the big leagues.
Yanks Were Destined To Lose Yoshinobu Yamamoto Sweepstakes
While the New York Yankees stayed in the pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto from start to end, they weren’t winning the sweepstakes anyway. As per NJ Media, even if Hal Steinbrenner matched the Dodgers’ offer, the ace pitcher’s final decision was supposed to remain the same.
Apparently, Steve Cohen of the Mets also offered Yamamoto the same as the Dodgers. Yet, he chose to head to LA, which suggests that money didn’t fuel the ace’s decision. Perhaps Shohei Ohtani’s presence did the trick for the Dodgers. Earlier rumors suggested that Yamamoto intended to join a team that consisted of his Japanese counterparts so that he would not feel out of place. Thus, Ohtani could have possibly convinced him to join forces with LA.