Yanks will be ‘aggressive’ in bolstering rotation (report)

Yanks will be ‘aggressive’ in bolstering rotation (report)

5:43 AM UTC

MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest Yankees-related free agent and trade rumors right here.

Dec. 17: Yanks to be ‘aggressive’ in bolstering rotation, with or without Yamamoto (report)
In contrast to how the Mets are expected to move forward if they don’t land coveted Japanese starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Ken Rosenthal reports in an article for The Athletic (subscription required) that the Yankees will be “aggressive” in upgrading their starting rotation whether or not they are able to sign the 25-year-old right-hander.

“A rotation without Yamamoto would require at least one more starter, and the Yankees, at least internally, have discussed a reunion with free-agent lefty Jordan Montgomery,” Rosenthal writes. “The team also could seek to build what one source described as a ‘super-charged’ bullpen.”

As for building that type of bullpen, Rosenthal notes that three of the best relievers on the market remain unsigned — Josh Hader, Jordan Hicks and Robert Stephenson.

Dec. 17: Reports: Yamamoto meets again with Mets and Yanks
MLB Network insider Joel Sherman wrote in the New York Post on Sunday that the bidding for Yamomoto is “supposed to intensify” this coming week. It seems like it has picked up a lot of steam this weekend.

Sherman reports that Yamamoto held his second meeting with the Mets’ brass on Saturday. The 25-year-old Japanese ace had dinner at Mets owner Steve Cohen’s home in Connecticut. Besides Cohen, president of baseball operations David Stearns, manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner were among those also in attendance. Earlier this month, Cohen and Stearns flew to Japan to meet with Yamamoto and his family.

But the Mets weren’t the only team to meet with Yamamoto this weekend. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Yamamoto requested a second meeting with the Yankees, which took place on Sunday evening. The first meeting between Yamamoto and the Bronx Bombers’ top executives was Monday in Los Angeles, according to multiple reports.

But there are a handful of other clubs invested in Yamamoto, including the Phillies, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Giants. Sources told The Athletic’s Jim Bowden on Saturday that Boston and San Francisco have made offers of more than $300 million to the coveted starter.

Yamamoto has until 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4 to sign with an MLB club, but a deal is expected to be finalized before Jan. 1, according to Sherman.

Dec. 14: Yanks eyeing Imanaga as fallback option (report)
As the pursuit of Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto heats up, the Yankees are considering Yamamoto’s countryman, left-hander Shota Imanaga, as a fallback option, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for the New York Post.

Heyman also mentioned some other clubs who have already been linked to Imanaga, including the Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cubs.

Imanaga, 30, isn’t as young as the 25-year-old Yamamoto, but he owns a 3.18 ERA over eight seasons with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

Dec. 11: Yankees ‘remain optimistic’ about Yamamoto pursuit (report)
After the Yankees traded for superstar Juan Soto, the club is looking to continue adding star talent to its roster. A Yankees contingent was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Monday to meet with Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to multiple reports.

SNY’s Andy Martino hears the meeting was set to take place at the office of Yamamoto’s agency and was expected to include Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake.

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, a source with knowledge of the club’s interaction with Yamamoto said the Yankees “remain optimistic about their pursuit” of the Japanese ace.

The Yankees and Yamamoto have long been linked, and the Soto trade isn’t expected to preclude New York from going full bore after Yamamoto. Martino recently reported that the Yankees would be willing to push their payroll past $300 million for the first time to land both Soto and Yamamoto, citing conversations with “sources familiar with owner Hal Steinbrenner’s thinking.”

In addition to the Yankees, Yamamoto’s potential suitors could include the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and possibly more teams.

Dec. 7: Yankees interested in RHP Jordan Hicks (source)
Yankees relievers averaged 94.7 mph on their fastballs last season, tied for sixth-fastest in the Majors. That number could rise in 2024 with the possible addition of one of the hardest throwers in the sport.

A source tells MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that the Yankees are interested in free-agent right-righter Jordan Hicks. The 27-year-old is coming off a season split between the Cardinals and Blue Jays in which he posted his best full-season marks in ERA (3.29), strikeout rate (28.4%) and whiff rate (28.2%). His four-seamer and sinker each average better than 100 mph, and Hicks’ 101.3 mph average fastball velocity ranked second in MLB.

Feinsand adds that the Yankees’ current focus is on signing starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But once he is off the market, the Bronx Bombers could move to bolster their bullpen with Hicks.

Dec. 6: Yankees willing to exceed $300M payroll for Soto and Yamamoto?
After several days of discussions, the Yankees and Padres have completed a deal sending Juan Soto to New York. The Yankees received Soto and outfielder Trent Grisham in exchange for catcher Kyle Higashioka and pitchers Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Randy Vásquez and Jhony Brito. Now, can the Bronx Bombers add another star to their roster?

SNY’s Andy Martino hears that the Soto trade won’t preclude the Yanks from going full bore after Yamamoto.

Citing conversations with “sources familiar with owner Hal Steinbrenner’s thinking,” Martino reports that the Yankees would be willing to push their payroll past $300 million for the first time to land both Soto and Yamamoto.

Dec. 5: Yankees confident about standing in Yamamoto sweepstakes (report)
Although they are one of many clubs vying for Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Yankees apparently feel good about their chances of landing the 25-year-old ahead of their scheduled meeting with the prized free agent next week, according to a report from Bob Klapisch of NJ.com.

At the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., Klapisch ran into one American League executive who said the Bronx Bombers have been “telling people they’re ahead of the pack on Yamamoto. Like, way ahead.”

Per Klapisch, the Yankees think their global brand could be the difference-maker in the Yamamoto sweepstakes and are already using Hideki Matsui, who came over from Japan to sign with the Yankees in 2002, to pitch Yamamoto on coming to the Bronx. Additionally, New York can point to the immediate success fellow Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka had after joining the Yanks in 2014.

And, of course, the Yankees also have the financial resources to win a bidding war for Yamamoto, whose price tag has risen to the point where some are now predicting he’ll get close to $300 million.

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