Yankees, Mets reportedly meet with Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto again as free agency heats up

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is expected to land a deal worth at least $200 million, if not more, when he makes the jump to Major League Baseball

Both New York baseball clubs are still making a push for Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Japanese ace, who is this offseason’s top remaining free agent, met with both the Yankees and the Mets this past weekend, according to The New York Post. He met with a group of Mets officials at owner Steve Cohen’s home in Connecticut on Saturday and then met with Yankees officials on Sunday.

Both teams had met with Yamamoto previously — Cohen and Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns flew to Japan to meet him, and Yankees officials met with him in Southern California last week — though his latest meeting with the Yankees brass was reportedly at Yamamoto’s request. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, president Randy Levine, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake all reportedly met with Yamamoto the first time.

It’s not just the Mets and Yankees who have met with Yamamoto recently, either. Yamamoto reportedly met with the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox within the past week or so, per The New York Post. The Chicago Cubs have also been in the mix.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto apparently met with Mets owner Steve Cohen on Saturday, and then asked the Yankees to meet with him on Sunday.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto apparently met with Mets owner Steve Cohen on Saturday and then asked the Yankees to meet with him on Sunday. (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)

Yamamoto, 25, won his third straight Sawamura award, the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award, last season with the Orix Buffaloes. He went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA in 23 appearances last season while striking out 169 batters and walking just 28.

“He’s a gunslinger,” a major league official told The New York Post. “He reminds me of David Cone. He just gets the ball and doesn’t give a damn and keeps firing until there’s no bullets left.”

It’s unclear when Yamamoto will make his decision or which way he’s leaning. He will be just the latest high-profile free agent to make a move this offseason, following Shohei Ohtani’s move to the Dodgers earlier this month. Yamamoto’s deal is expected to be worth at least $200 million, if not more. He has until Jan. 4 to officially sign with a team.