New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already filled two major holes in the outfield by acquiring Juan Soto in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres and pulling off an equally shocking deal for Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo.
Part of the cost included six pitchers. Obviously, that is going to be a drag on the Yankees’ World Series aspirations in 2024 unless Cashman acts quickly.
The good news is that New York has been linked to some of the top pitchers, both in free agency and on the MLB trade block.
Even after adding a nice amount to their payroll in the two aforementioned trades, New York is in on two of the top pitchers available in MLB free agency. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Yankees are targeting top-end Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto as well as reliever Jordan Hicks.
Both are obvious needs for the Pinstripes. As of right now, only Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole, Clarke Schmidt and Carlos Rodon return as regular members of the rotation.
New York Yankees willing to exceed $300 million payroll with Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Our No. 2 player on the MLB free agent market behind Shohei Ohtani, Yamamoto is now expected to receive a contract that will pay him at least $250 million. The Japanese sensation is slated to travel to New York and meet with the Yankees on Monday.
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees are willing to exceed the $300 million payroll threshold for the first time in franchise history to land both Soto and Yamamoto. It’s apparently all in for Cashman and the Yankees.
Yamamoto, 25, was absolutely dominating in Japan. Throughout his seven seasons, the righty pitched to a 75-30 record with a 1.72 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He’s seen as one of the best foreign pitchers to make the transition to MLB in the history of the game.
The idea of teaming him up with reigning Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole could be too appealing for the Yankees to pass up on.
Though, they are facing significant competition for his servives. Primarily, the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have come up on the rumor mill.
As for Hicks, late-inning bullpen help is also a need for the Yankees. The 27-year-old veteran saved 26 games and posted a 3.29 ERA in stops with the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays a season ago.