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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Report: Yankees made huge gesture to try to attract 1 star free agent

Brian Cashman at a press conference

Mar 14, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks with media during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are desperate to land one big free agent this offseason — so desperate, in fact, that they have spent an entire year making a big gesture to try to land their preferred target.

The Yankees have been strongly linked to Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who was posted by the Orix Buffaloes and is likely heading to MLB for 2024. According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Yankees have spent the entirety of 2023 holding the No. 18 for Yamamoto, which is the number traditionally worn by ace pitchers in Japan.

While it may not seem like a huge gesture, the number is a significant one in Japan and carries with it lofty status. Hiroki Kuroda, another Japanese pitcher, also wore the number with the Yankees, while the only reason Masahiro Tanaka did not was because Kuroda was still on the team when he initially joined.

A jersey number is unlikely to singlehandedly sway Yamamoto to the Yankees. However, it is an indicator of just how badly the team wants him, and has for some time. Of course, they are not the only ones, and signing the star pitcher will be a very expensive proposition.

The 25-year-old pitcher has been the a dominant force in Japan for several years, having won Pacific League MVP for three years in a row.

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