“The Empire of Evil is Back.” Yankees recruited by Soto, next ace to win four times in Japan… New York rival Mets is the biggest variable

After acquiring Juan Soto, one of the best hitters in the major leagues, the New York Yankees have set their sights on Japan’s top ace.

MLB.com, the official site of Major League Baseball, reported on Aug. 8, “The Yankees have succeeded in upgrading their batting with the acquisition of Juan Soto. Now the focus is on bolstering the starting rotation, and they are looking at Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix).”

The Yankees won 82 games this year, going over .500, but finished fourth in the American League East and missed the postseason. The Yankees, who haven’t won the World Series since 2009, are looking to bolster their roster to challenge for the big prize next season.

The Yankees’ first move was to bolster their outfield, sending three pitchers-Richard Fitzgerald, Greg Weissert, and Nicholas Judge-to Boston on June 6 in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo. Soon after, they completed a lengthy trade with San Diego, sending Michael King, Drew Storen, Johnny Brito, Randy Vasquez, and Kyle Higashioka in exchange for Soto and Trent Grisham.레모나토토 도메인

Verdugo is a career major league hitter with a .651 batting average (2327-for-654), 57 home runs, 255 RBIs, and a .765 OPS, while Soto has a career batting average (2704-for-768), 160 home runs, 483 RBIs, and a .946 OPS in 779 games. They will be joined by Aaron Judge (Yankees), who set an American League home run record last year (62), to form an ultra-stacked outfield.

After bolstering their lineup, the Yankees turned to Yamamoto. Yamamoto is Japan’s top ace with a 70-29 record and 1.82 ERA in 172 career Nippon Professional Baseball games (897 innings). He won the Sawamura Award and the Pacific League MVP for three consecutive years from 2021 to this year, winning four pitching titles (wins, ERA, strikeouts, and winning percentage). He is the first pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball to win four titles in three consecutive years, the second player in history to win the Sawamura Award in three consecutive years, and the third player in history to win the MVP award in three consecutive years since Ichiro Suzuki (1994-1996).

Yamamoto is considered the most valuable pitcher in Major League Baseball’s free agent market this winter, and is expected to receive a mega-contract worth more than $200 million. The competition for his signature is getting fierce. The Yankees and Mets, who are both based in New York, have been in the mix.

According to MLB.com, “The Yankees will meet with Yamamoto on Dec. 12. The Mets already have, with president Steve Cohen and president of baseball operations David Stearns traveling to Japan last week to meet with Yamamoto,” explaining that both the Yankees and Mets are actively pursuing Yamamoto.

The Yankees and Mets aren’t the only teams pursuing Yamamoto. MLB.com’s John Paul Morosi listed the Dodgers, Boston, Cubs, and San Francisco as finalists, while The Athletic’s Will Sammon reported that the Mets, Yankees, San Francisco, Dodgers, Toronto, and two undisclosed teams are seriously pursuing Yamamoto.

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