There have been numerous rumors indicating that the Yankees are leading the Yamamoto sweepstakes, having already met with the free agent. New York was reportedly in a “solid position” before the meeting, according to Andy Martino of SNY. If Yamamoto decides to sign with the Yankees, he would be teaming with former MVP Aaron Judge, the current AL Cy Young winner, Gerrit Cole, and recent addition Juan Soto, one of the best young players in the game. If Yamamoto enjoys performing in front of the brightest lights possible, New York is the place to be.
The Yankees still have a lot of work to do on their roster, and the starting rotation is the top priority despite their huge acquisition for Soto. The Yankees are short on options behind Cole, Carlos Rodon, and Nestor Cortes Jr. with Michael King traded, Luis Severino out of the picture, and Frankie Montas a free agent after sitting out almost all of 2023. With Cole at the top of the rotation, adding Yamamoto would give the Yankees a potentially formidable one-two punch. However, it is unclear how a deal would affect the team’s chances of re-signing Soto in the long run.
Given that Masahiro Tanaka and Hideki Matsui are two of the most adored players in recent Yankees history, Yamamoto may look up to those two Japanese icons as role models for what life in New York could be like.