Yoshinobu Yamamoto Rumors: New York Yankees Cautiously Optimistic

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Now that Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, much of free agency is centered around Yoshinobu Yamamoto and his impending decision.

After being posted by Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in late November, the right-hander initially met with teams over Zoom. Though, during that time New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and president of baseball operations David Stearns flew to Japan to sit with Yamamoto in person.

Yamamoto continued in-person visits with teams after the Winter Meetings, a process that involved the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mets and New York Yankees, among other clubs.

Over the weekend, Yamamoto was on the East Coast and reportedly requested a second meeting with both the Mets and Yankees. According to Andy Martino of SportsNet New York, the Yankees have developed some confidence in their odds to sign Yamamoto:

As the Yankees on Sunday were set to convene a second meeting with coveted free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a sense of “cautious optimism” surrounded their pursuit of the pitcher, according to one source with direct knowledge of the process.

Yamamoto’s desire and timing for second meeting with the Yankees purportedly caught them somewhat by surprise but that was not indicative of their confidence:

A Yankees contingent of Cashman, president Randy Levine, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake flew to Los Angeles last week to meet with Yamamoto. Their second meeting was hastily assembled amid some internal optimism, sources say.

According to multiple reports, Yamamoto has met with Dodgers, Mets, Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies in person.

The Giants and Blue Jays also were in the running for Ohtani before he signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers.

Yamamoto is expected to sign with a team before Christmas. It’s unclear if he will request a second meeting with additional teams outside of the Mets and Yankees.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto contract offers

As the 25-year-old mulls over a decision, the Giants and Red Sox are both said to have made a contract offer to Yamamoto that exceeds $300 million in total value.

Yamamoto’s deadline to sign with a team is January 4, 2024.

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