Now that we've had some time to process it, the New York Yankees losing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto was objectively a gut punch. It really did feel like the right-hander was going to be a Yankee, dating all the way back to when the organization was present for his no-hitter in Japan.
But Shohei Ohtani's free agency changed everything, and when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers it was a preview of what was to come. His deferred money allowed LA to invest $325 million over 12 years to Yamamoto.
Massive offer. Some might've been wondering where the Yankees were in the bidding. That was a point of contention on social media shortly after Yamamoto made his decision.
The $325 million offer initially came from Steve Cohen and the Mets. All the Dodgers had to do was match it, and Yamamoto was theirs. That was exactly what happened. Had the Yankees matched, it quite frankly wouldn't have mattered.
Yamamoto's drawn out free agency process only confirmed he was always eyeing the Dodgers. He used the rest of the market as leverage, and his agent played it beautifully by getting that offer from Cohen, knowing full well the Dodgers would pay because of their financially flexible situation.
Complaining about Yankees losing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a fruitless endeavor
Even if the Yankees went up to $340 million, it wouldn't have mattered. They offered Yamamoto the best deal of the bunch. He was still getting double-digit years, the highest AAV, the best opt-outs, and the most money of any of the other offers in the first five years of the contract, per reports.
And some fans out there really had the gall to think the Yankees let their coveted target slip out of their grasp over $25 million? For as frustrating as the Yankees' front office can be, you've truly lost your way as a fan if you think that was the case.
When the Yankees are "in" on a player, it's fairly obvious. They're there until the end, and the offer is always top of market. Just because they've spent less shrewdly since 2018 doesn't mean they've forgotten how to exist altogether.
You're hearing it from multiple well-known reporters, too. Yamamoto simply wanted to be a Dodger. We may never know for sure, but when that's the prevailing sentiment among the speculation, you know there's some truth behind it. Also, on the surface, we know the Dodgers to be a familiar pipeline for Japanese players transitioning to MLB. You think that didn't play a role, in addition to geography?
Oh, wait. Yamamoto said it himself at his Dodgers introductory press conference that he likely would've chosen LA (regardless of Ohtani's decision).
Complain all you want about the Yankees restricting their own spending after the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Ditto for their lowball offer to Aaron Judge (and then making it public). Same goes for letting Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and others go.
But offering $300 million to a guy who's never pitched in this league all the while giving him the best flexibility and most money in the short term? You're better than that. Time for the discussion to shift to the trade market.