Did New York Yankees fans want Yoshinobu Yamamoto? Sure! He's an extremely talented pitcher and someone who could've helped the team for the better part of the next decade. Fans were definitely hopeful the two sides would get a deal done.
But as we've stated before, Yamamoto was never the Yankees' prize to lose. His free agency was always a mystery. He had never played in MLB before. There was no telling what he truly wanted, despite the buzz that surfaced over the last few months.
In the end, the Yankees lost. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him to a 12-year, $325 million contract on Thursday night ... but not before an erroneous rumor hit social media suggesting the Yankees had a nine-year, $326 million deal in place that was "done."
Nobody believed it ... but it felt good to see the news continuing to trend in the Yankees' direction, as it had been for quite some time now. Everyone was thinking about Gerrit Cole and Yamamoto patrolling the rotation for the next 3-5 years in dominant fashion.
But a few hours later, after conflicting reports about Yamamoto attending the LA Rams game with Shohei Ohtani, the gut punch was delivered. The Yankees were then forced to pivot to figure out the rest of their offseason since so much of their focus was on Yamamoto.
Fake report about Yankees-Yamamoto deal was crushing, but NYY might be saved
This isn't a way of us coping with losing out on the Yamamoto sweepstakes, but how devastating of a gut punch was it actually?
Yamamoto received the largest contract for a starting pitcher in MLB history. He's never thrown a pitch in the league. The Yankees would've had to pay him more than Cole, which just wouldn't have felt right given the circumstances. Would fans have been OK with it? Of course. They wouldn't have had a choice, and they would've been getting an all-world talent.
But again ... that's a massive investment that undoubtedly would've limited future spending. And again, how sure are we of Yamamoto's greatness? The Yankees need a surefire playoff bulldog and Yamamoto ... isn't exactly that.
There were also talks of whatever team signing him having to move forward with a six-man rotation since the pitching schedule is different in NBP. That's $325 million for a guy who has never pitched in MLB, has documented struggles in the postseason, and might need extra rest than the average pitcher (and would be getting used to an all-new ball).
Yamamoto was a truly exciting prospect when the dollar figure was $175-$225 million. Then it ballooned to $250 million or more. Then $300 million. Then $400 million was floated. Again, his addition to the Yankees' rotation would've created endless hype and fans would've stood behind the move ferociously.
But now that the sweepstakes have ended, everyone can exhale. We don't need to justify why not signing Yamamoto was the right move until our dying breath, but there are a few silver linings that can help us sleep at night.