It's always difficult to tell whether the Yankees are genuinely "in" on a free agent's market or being used for leverage to drive up someone else's price.
In the case of Japanese right-handed phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto, there is blessedly no gray area. The Yankees desperately want him. They've gone so far "in" they've deployed Brian Cashman to Yamamoto's turf; the Yankees' head honcho skipped Old Timers' Day to scout Yamamoto's no-hitter in person. New York's interest is very real. The only question left is whether they can outmuscle several other desperate franchises in an escalating market.
The Red Sox probably should be in, especially after declaring their intentions of remaking the rotation with two or three additions. The Mariners would be a logical fit. The Dodgers can't be counted out, pending post-Ohtani pivots. But, all fall long, the Yankees, Mets and Giants have registered the loudest interest.
Rumors about the Giants won't be outbid for their targets this winter, which feels right, coming off an offseason of being outbid for literally all of their targets (except Carlos Correa, who they ghosted on prom night). It feels impossible for the Mets to be outbid on ... anyone or anything. But, if the rumors are to be believed, those "in the know" believe that, while the Mets will be "all over him," the Yankees somehow will have the easier time securing his services, per Andy Martino of SNY.
Yankees Rumors: Yanks in better position than Mets for Yoshinobu Yamamoto?
Is this something to do with the "Japanese superstars sharing a locker room" principle? Kodai Senga has reportedly been recruiting Yamamoto hard, so it doesn't seem he's aware of any rift. You could count the Red Sox out too, then. Hell, count 'em out on their favorite target Shohei Ohtani, while you're at it!
The reasoning why Cashman and Co. would have the inside track no matter how wild Steve Cohen gets is nebulous at best, but for now, we'll have to cling to these nuggets while we wait for the Yankees to declare their intentions in any capacity. We hoped Cashman's press conference would provide clarity. Instead, he pulled out a knife and threatened onlookers. What can you do?