Yankees Rumors: Free agency pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto already in peril

And for obvious reasons!

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The only free agent out there that's been of interest to most New York Yankees fans is Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who tossed a no-hitter with Brian Cashman in attendance earlier this season. The stars aligning! Would you look at that.

The Yankees need starting pitching badly and will be faced with limited options. Shohei Ohtani? He can't pitch until 2025 and he's not coming to New York. Clayton Kershaw? He's a Dodger or Ranger ... or he retires. Marcus Stroman? No. Eduardo Rodriguez? No. Julio Urías? Probably banned from MLB. Sonny Gray? Not happening. Same with Jordan Montgomery and James Paxton.

The realistic expensive options? Blake Snell and Aaron Nola. Possible? Certainly. But the competition for those two might be greater than for Yamamoto, who will require a posting fee and more scouting legwork, which the Yankees have already began.

Unless ... of course ... another team with more money that recently had experience signing another ace Japanese pitcher is lurking and ready to strike when free agency opens. Hmmm. Who could that be?

Oh yeah, the Mets! They might be in turmoil, but is it that much worse than what the Yankees are going through? And might a good selling point for Yamamoto be the chance to pitch alongside Kodai Senga, who signed in Queens for five years and $75 million last offseason?

Yankees Rumors: Free agency pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto already in peril because of Mets

Also, don't forget, the Mets have been considered a dark horse frontrunner for Shohei Ohtani. Is this part of Steve Cohen's plan? Lure as many of his Team Japan countrymen to New York to convince him to make the cross-country journey?

MLB insider Jon Heyman dropped this bomb recently:

"Word going around is the Mets might be high bidders for coveted Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Every big-market team has been tracking the two-time MVP, but a couple rival GMs say they hear the Mets are expected to go big.

The Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Phillies, Giants, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Rangers and others heavily scouted Yamamoto."

Jon Heyman, NY Post

What's stopped the Yankees from previous free-agent endeavors over the last few years, specifically since 2016? Other teams "going big." They wouldn't go an extra year for Justin Verlander. They didn't even consider Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. They went with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa over Carlos Correa. Corey Seager and Freddie Freeman scared them away. Kyle Schwarber, George Springer, Michael Brantley ... do we need to go on?

Yes, New York managed to retain Aaron Judge while importing Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodón, but letting Judge go would've resulted in riots. Cole was a necessary expenditure after all the cost cutting. Rodón was a worthwhile gamble for a franchise that has plenty of money to play with.

So here it is. We'll see if they're willing to go toe-to-toe with Cohen for Yamamoto or any other big market clubs for Snell/Nola. If they go 0-for-3, it'll be upsetting, but it'll by no means be surprising.