Prized Japanese free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto reportedly had a big weekend in the Big Apple meeting with both the New York Mets and New York Yankees for a second time.
Yamamoto met with Mets’ brass on Saturday evening at Steve Cohen’s home in Connecticut, reports Jon Heyman. The Mets meeting included Cohen and his wife, Alex, plus pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, manager Carlos Mendoza, and general manager David Stearns, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
Not to be out done, the Yankees met with Yamamoto in New York City on Sunday. The Sunday Yamamoto-Yankees meeting came at the behest of the free agent righty, according to reports.
Yankees meeting today, which has now ended, was requested by coveted free agent righthander Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 18, 2023
Yamamoto’s meeting with the Mets was also at his request.
Yamamoto also requested the 2nd meeting with Mets. Mets were informed a few days ago he was coming East.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 18, 2023
Both clubs have put the full-court press on Yamamoto as of late, including bringing in current or former Japanese stars from each organization. Not a sticking point, but rather an area of comfort from Yamamoto is reportedly playing with other Japanese or Asian born players. The Mets’ Kodai Senga was reportedly present for the latest rounds of meetings with Yamamoto and former Yankees’ great Hideki Matsui has been the Bombers’ initial pitchman.
As the Yamamoto sweepstakes reaches its final stages –Yamamoto needs to sign by January 4 or return to Orix of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League– the Mets and Yankees are well positioned to meet the escalating dollar demands of his contract negotiations, which reportedly top over $300MM.
After reporting that teams are offering Yoshinobu Yamamoto over $300 million, our own @JimBowdenGM shares more about what a potential contract for the Japanese superstar could look like:#HotStove pic.twitter.com/MNRzCXZdZg
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 17, 2023
While the battle for Yamamoto’s services is certainly looking like a Bronx vs. Queens battle worthy of The Warriors, there are other teams reportedly “in” on baseball’s (newest) hottest free agent.
Who Else is “In” on Yamamoto?
You certainly have plenty of dark horses in the Yamamoto sweepstakes if you’re looking to place a wager on a team not from one of New York City’s five boroughs. The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and Toronto Blue Jays are other notable teams still in contact with Yamamoto’s camp. The quintet of clubs have previously met with the free agent during his recruitment tour of the United States.
Yankees will be meeting with coveted free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto again today. Yamamoto recently dined at Mets owner Steve Cohen’s house so this is a real NY-NY battle (plus also Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Phillies and Jays)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 17, 2023
All five clubs have met with Yamamoto at least once. The Dodgers, Phillies, and Red Sox are the three clubs with a track record and willingness to spend big time money on free agents. Yamamoto’s reported $300MM negotiation mark is just a drop in the bucket for those clubs. The Blue Jays and Giants could be on the outside looking in when it comes to making the financial investment at ten years-plus and $300MM, although Toronto’s offer for Shohei Ohtani was reportedly “right there” with the Dodgers.