Latest rumors claim Yankees 'feel good' about Yamamoto, will be outbid by 2 rivals

And where, exactly, are the Dodgers?
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Christopher Pasatieri/GettyImages

The Yoshinobu Yamamoto chase, after a week of meetings in Los Angeles, is officially hitting the eye of the Spin Hurricane. On Sunday, it was reported that Yamamoto had dined with Steve Cohen and the Mets on Saturday night, and that the Yankees had cobbled together a "hastily scheduled" meeting once they learned "he was in the area."

Oh! So the Mets are the favorites, then! The Yankees didn't even know he was in town! Meanwhile, he was secretly flown out on Steve Cohen's dime to nibble foie gras and quiz Ron Darling on what it was like to pitch into the wind at Shea Stadium, a place that doesn't exist anymore. The Yankees were, of course, dunked on online for several hours ... until it was reported that Yamamoto requested the second meeting with the Yankees, hence the hastiness. The Mets extended an invitation. The man himself invited the Yankees back in.

Is that good or bad? Did he want to give the Yankees common courtesy after hearing a Mets offer he couldn't refuse? Did he call the Yankees back into the room to tell them he preferred to join them and wanted to push their offer close to Cohen's number? Did he agree to anything at all? Are we even in the offer stage yet? Aaron Judge was there. That seems good. But where the f*** are the Dodgers?

According to Andy Martino's latest update, some of the weekend's noise was accurate. The Mets certainly do plan on being competitive, even though no one seems to be able to explain why they're now trying to paint themselves as the underdog. Steve Cohen's napkins are Manet paintings, but sure. Scrappy. The Red Sox aren't kidding, either (and the Giants might also be at the top of the market). In fact, Martino believes both the Red Sox and Mets will offer more money, in total, than the Yankees.

But the Yankees still seem "cautiously optimistic" and feel good about their chances of landing their top target, even with a slightly lower offer. That would seem to indicate either they know something we don't know, or they're finally getting a little uncomfortable with where this market is spiraling.

Yankees feel good about landing Yoshinobu Yamamoto despite Red Sox, Mets aggression

Red Sox fans should be a little less cynical after hearing the team is setting the market on Yamamoto. They paid Rafael Devers $300+ million last winter. They doubled Masataka Yoshida's largest offer to secure his services. And yet their fans will still tell you the ownership group, which has delivered them four titles in 20 years, no longer plays at the top of the market. Cool.

The Sox and Mets and (presumably) Dodgers have been unrelenting here, but it certainly seems like the Yankees are the team he turned to when the competition got fiercer. Yamamoto, a 25-year-old ace and a completely unique free agent, made more sense for all teams involved when he seemed like a $175-$225 million investment earlier in the offseason. Starting his contract with a "3" is a wild place to have landed, and it's a strange pace for teams like Boston and New York (NL) to set, considering where their rosters currently sit.

But, so be it. The Yankees believe they've got an ace in the hole, and Sunday's chaos did very little to change that. No matter where he goes, Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers fans have no reason to be ashamed of their efforts. The choice is in Yamamoto's hands now, and it seems like it'll come down to personal preference (with, yes, a massive sum attached).