NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Like a kid with a long holiday wish list, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is attracted to some popular items.
Asked if Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto would look good in pinstripes, a smiling Boone said: “I think he probably would, yeah.’’
“(He’s) accomplished a ton already at a young age, been a central figure on a world championship team,’’ with the 2019 Washington Nationals.
Soto and Yamamoto are both 25, and in the Yankees’ sights, though progress on both fronts has been either slow or stalled.
Waiting for a thaw in Yankees-Padres stalemate
By Tuesday afternoon, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, trade negotiations for Soto remained at a roadblock over the Padres’ seven-player asking price – according to USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale – and the Yankees’ refusal to include headliners Michael King and Drew Thorpe.
King is due to fully transition into the Yanks’ 2024 rotation, while Thorpe was recently named as baseball’s 2023 Pitching Prospect of the Year.
Soto would cost roughly $33 million this season (his final arbitration year before free agency), in addition to the young, controllable, high-ceiling pitchers going to San Diego.
Aaron Boone has previously met Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Yamamoto would only cost money, with an expected contract beyond $200 million plus a posting fee based on a percentage of his deal.
Boone anticipates being part of those discussions since he’s already had a previous chance meeting with Yamamoto.
“(We) met once before,’’ said Boone, who plans to meet with Yamamoto again. “It’s hard to find a 25-year-old pitcher as decorated as he is,’’ which includes success at the World Baseball Classic.
Giancarlo Stanton's status, Yankees coaching vacancy?
Following his worst career offensive season, Giancarlo Stanton acknowledged a need to improve this winter.
Since the season ended, Boone has communicated with Stanton mostly through texts after having a productive chat just before the Yanks’ final regular season game.
“He’s getting after it, he’s always a very focused person and…on overdrive to make sure he’s in a really good spot heading into spring training,’’ said Boone. "I think G's got a big year in him, I really do.''
The manager added that assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes would return to the 2024 staff under new hitting coach James Rowson, but that second assistant hitting coach Brad Wilkerson’s status remained unsettled.
Aaron Boone on his status entering 2024
Boone is entering his seventh season as Yankees manager, with 2024 being the final guaranteed year in his contract.
Coming off the Yankees’ first postseason miss since 2016, and with zero pennants on his resume, Boone deflected a question about his status at a critical period.
“I’m consumed with getting back to the playoffs and winning it all. That’s where my brain is, and that’s what my focus is,’’ said Boone. “Whatever happens at the end of it…it truly is out of my control right now.’’
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Aaron Boone on Yankees' pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Juan Soto