WBC proved Yankees' possible Yoshinobu Yamamoto alternative could be just as good

The Yankees have options here.

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BASEBALL-WORLD-JPN-KOR / PHILIP FONG/GettyImages
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Yes, the Yankees should do everything in their power not to settle this offseason, and must prioritize the top options at every position of need.

Yes, the Yankees have a trillion positions of need, and improving a horrific lineup seems more important than beefing up a starting rotation that actually added Michael King midseason.

All that said and acknowledged, Yoshinobu Yamamoto would be a phenomenal import if the Yankees can get the inside track, $200 million contract or not. Unfortunately, no amount of money or Brian Cashman flights to Japan will guarantee he chooses the Yankees. The Mets, and Kodai Senga, have spent a lot of recruiting time in this particular area, too. The Giants reportedly "won't be outbid" on their primary targets this offseason after missing out on many last winter -- and that list includes Yamamoto.

That means, despite their best intentions, the Yankees could easily be left scrambling here in third place. There are plenty of other options available in free agency -- though only one of them eclipsed Yamamoto's "stuff" metrics during this spring's World Baseball Classic. That would be Shōta Imanaga, the 30-year-old Japanese left-hander whose next contract will probably fall $150 million short of Yamamoto's (at least).

Yankees could pursue Japanese free agent Shōta Imanaga

First of all, what are Jose Urquidy and Jose De Leon doing up there? And what is future legend Roki Sasaki doing buried in the No. 11 spot? But, most importantly ... that permanent No. 1 looks pretty nice.

Imanaga, a veteran of international play, hits the market at a time when MLB.com notes the "Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals" must fill "rotation vacancies." If that's not a hint, we'd like to take it as one anyway, if you don't mind.

The left-hander will only be viewed as a "consolation prize" in the context of the larger offseason. Otherwise, he appears to be an appealing option with vaunted metrics who can be nabbed on a shorter-term, lower-risk deal. Considering the Yankees don't already have a Japanese superstar on the roster, there would be no concerns about the locker room being unfairly split. Yamamoto should still be Plan A, but Cashman had better be doing due diligence on this very impressive alternate pathway, too.

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