In case it wasn't already evident, it turns out Brian Cashman doesn't travel to the Far East for just anybody.
Cashman was in the house for soon-to-be-posted Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto's no-hitter a few weeks back, spotted behind home plate as the final out was recorded. The press who stalked the Yankees' GM around the stadium's bowels pressed as best they could about his and the team's intentions with the free agent righty, but only got canned responses like, "Have a good day."
Cashman being coy cannot stop the rumor mill from stumbling along, though. His attendance alone made his intentions obvious. The news that came out after the no-no, indicating Omar Minaya was also in attendance and pro scouting director Matt Daley had been dispatched to Japan weeks earlier, only intensified the rumored link between the two parties.
Those with boots on the ground in Yamamoto's current league, NPB, seem to agree that the Yankees are serious about their intentions. One scout reportedly called the Yankees' pursuit the franchise's most active in years.
Yankees Rumors: NYY pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto sounds serious
Now, say it with me: Just because the Yankees intend to sign Yamamoto, or are serious about signing Yamamoto, does not mean they will sign Yamamoto. The ball remains in the right-hander's court, and he'll have 10 or so MLB teams interested in his services this winter. The Yankees could outbid all interested parties (they haven't done so in a while, though ...) and that still wouldn't be a guarantee he'd choose them.
Theoretically, the last time the Yankees were this intrigued by NPB talent was when they formed their entire 2017-18 offseason around bringing Shohei Ohtani to the Bronx, only for Ohtani to instead eliminate the Yankees first (while Cashman was tormented by a man in a Grinch costume). All they can do, really, is declare their intentions. Any speculation that they plan to "outdo the Masahiro Tanaka offer" sounds great, but ... the market rate has changed since 2013-14. And even if they do significantly overextend themselves, Yamamoto could simply feel more comfortable elsewhere.
All that said ... it's satisfying to know the Yankees seem to realize that building a rotation cannot get left behind this offseason as they work to improve their offense. The roster is broken on many levels at the moment. Encouraging signs from Carlos Rodón aside, Frankie Montas and Luis Severino are walking out that door. Nestor Cortes' shoulder has been tweaked in a dangerous spot. Not only do the Yankees not have "too much pitching," but they might not have enough, even if they feel comfortable relying on Clarke Schmidt and Michael King.
There are miles to go before Cashman and Co. can sleep comfortably in the Yamamoto market, but preparing an all-out blitz is certainly an important first step. Those on both sides of the aisle seem to believe this chase is all systems go.