Yoshinobu Yamamoto docuseries validates Yankees' decision to stand pat with bid

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

International free agents typically come with a ton of fanfare. They've already established some sort of following in their home countries and have a professional body of work to judge before making the leap to MLB. Such was the case this offseason with Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The New York Yankees were among the frontrunners for the right-hander, who ultimately took a 12-year, $325 million contract from his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Dodgers. All they had to do was match Steve Cohen's offer, presented by the New York Mets.

As for the Yankees, they had to get creative while also not out-bidding themselves, or spending an even more prohibitive amount of money for somebody who's never played professionally in the United States.

That's why they offered a unique $300 million contract that provided Yamamoto with the highest AAV and the most generous opt-outs of any other contract that was put in front of him. Brian Cashman and Co. made the proper overture, but Yamamoto's mind seemed to have been made up from the start, and Cohen helped him squeeze a few more bucks out of the Dodgers.

In shrewd fashion, the Dodgers were focused on securing a wide-ranging international market, and had already begun that endeavor by signing Shohei Ohtani. Yamamoto was the final puzzle piece, as they now have a stranglehold on fans and viewers from Japan, creating an entirely new revenue stream.

But that wasn't exactly something the Yankees needed. They're already an international brand and always possess a roster of recognizable stars that attract fans from all corners of the world. It wasn't necessary for them to overextend themselves on Yamamoto, who documented his whole free agency process, which made it feel a lot more artificial.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto docuseries validates Yankees' decision to stand pat with bid

Don't get us wrong, Yamamoto is awesome. He's been adapting seamlessly to MLB play and looks like he'll be well worth his contract. But based on his comments about joining the Dodgers, and then seeing reality TV version of the next chapter of his career? We'll pass.

It also makes it more obvious that this was, indeed, scripted! Yamamoto's free agency always felt like a form of theatre. A guy nobody heard of until barely two years ago all of a sudden becoming the second-most coveted free agent behind Shohei Ohtani and commands $300 million after initial projections pegged him in the $150 million range?

Again, excellent work by Yamamoto and his representation. They couldn't have played it any better. But the Yankees didn't have any more time to waste on the shiny objects that were playing a game of cat and mouse. They needed talent, and they needed it as soon as possible, especially after acquiring Juan Soto.

If the sales pitch of pairing Soto with Aaron Judge and giving Yamamoto the opportunity to form a one-of-a-kind dup with reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole didn't work, then nothing was going to (and oh, by the way, if Hal's precious payroll is about to go down, not having Yamamoto already absorbing some of Soto's money helps).

Yamamoto chose the next best thing (or the only better thing, depending how you look at it). The Yankees left it all out there while also drawing a line in the sand — and it's good they did, because Yamamoto's marketing scheme would've just distracted them from building the league's best pitching staff.