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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: While We Wait...

by Paul Semendinger

December 20, 2024

***

Waiting for Yoshinobu Yamamoto to make his decision is like watching paint dry. Day after day we hear rumors:


"The contract will be in excess of $300 million."

"The Mets and the Yankees are the front runners."

"The decision will come by the end of the week..."


Then, just as suddenly, we get other conflicting reports:


"$300 million is just an estimate."

"He's going to the west coast."

"The decision won't come until after the new year..."


As for me, I'm tired of waiting.

***

I want Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the Yankees. But, that being said, I always want all the great players on the Yankees. I want the Yankees to be the team with the best chance to win the World Series every year. But I am getting tired of the waiting...


I understand that all of baseball has to wait for Yamamoto to make his decision, but I also have to wonder if it would behoove the Yankees to upend the market in their own way and make their own splash.

***

Imagine if the Yankees said to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the offer we made is only good until December 23 (or whatever day). Imagine if they said, "We can't hold up our plans for you."


(It is amazing, isn't it, how one player can hold all of the MLB in limbo until he makes up his mind.)


And, if Yamamoto doesn't sign with the Yankees by the Yankees' date, imagine if they made their own big moves that day by signing two pitchers, or an outfielder, or by announcing a big trade... or two.


I have written that signing Cody Bellinger would allow the Yankees to trade a lot of outfield talent. How exciting would it be if the Yankees announced the signing of Bellinger along with a trade for Corbin Burnes on the same day? That would get us talking!


Or, what if the Yankees pivoted from Yamamoto and signed Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery AND Frankie Montas all on the same day? Wouldn't that be fun!


We have made arguments here that a Yankees team with whatever combination of the above, or other big ideas such as


Bellinger and Snell or

Luis Robert, Jr. and Dylan Cease or

Ke'Bryan Hayes and Corbin Burnes


or whoever...


would make the Yankees even stronger than acquiring only Yoshinobu Yamamoto. At some point, high quality quantity is better than the one superstar pitcher.

***

I don't see any of the above happening, but I do think it would be amazing if the Yankees were able to pivot. A move like that would establish the Yankees as baseball's biggest power broker.


"You want to play for us, then play for us. We're not playing games... we move in one direction only - forward. We don't have to wait for you."


I don't know why this doesn't happen in baseball. It happens like that in other areas. ("We'd like to hire you, let us know by Friday, or we'll have to move on...")


These are the Yankees we're talking about. As unrealistic as my scenario above is, there is a nugget of truth in the fact that the Yankees have powers that they could (but often do not) wield.


It would be fun and exciting if the Yankees pushed back in that manner.


"You need us more than we need you."

***

(Sometimes it seems that the Yankees do treat their fans that way...)

***

One big question we haven't discussed much here is the fact that whoever the Yankees get, how ever many great players they bring in, they have not changed their manager.


If the Yankees get Yamamoto after already getting Soto and Verdugo, they'd have to be the favorites to win the World Series. The Yankees would be going all-in on 2024 (as they should). They'd have superstars all over the place, but they still wouldn't have one in the dugout.


And that does cause me some pause. I know there are many who are high on Aaron Boone, but...


The Yankees manager might be a prospect, but he isn't a superstar. Not yet (at least).

***

Imagine if Yoshinobu Yamamoto signs with the Yankees.


Imagine then if Brian Cashman says, "We are in this to win it. Now. We have a ton of free agents at the end of the year. Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole aren't getting younger. We want to win - now. And we are doing everything we can to make that happen."


Imagine if Mr. Cashman then followed that up by saying, "We are bringing in the best available players... and we're also going to hire the best available manager to get us to the promised land. Yeah, Aaron Boone might be good, he might be very good, someday, but we're not leaving anything to chance. Along with Mr. Yamamoto, the Yankees are very pleased to announce their manager for the 2024 season...


Mr. Dusty Baker (or Mr. Joe Maddon).


I am giving the manager absolute power to run the team as he sees fit. There will be no interference from my office. Mr. Baker (or Mr. Maddon) knows how to win. We're giving him the most talented team in baseball to win with.


Along with having the best players, we want to have the best manager too. Yes, we're ALL IN."


IMAGINE THAT!


Now that would be great.


A move like that would put the Yankees in the power seat.

***


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63 Comments


Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Dec 20, 2023

Let me put it this way. Cashman traded Montgomery before he succeeded in trading with the Marlins for Pablo Lopez. Then he tried to desperately pivot to Carlos Rodon (then with the Giants) but failed to land him. Now, he's traded Mike King plus a whole bunch of needed (but replaceable) pitching depth BEFORE signing Yamamoto - which puts the Yankees in a very precarious position, leaving them with an inadequate rotation and depleated depth.


He had better win out and succeed in landing Yamamoto and he'd also better look at signing Snell or Montomery (or <gasp, ugggh> Montas). If he fails in doing these things, teams like the Brewers and White Sox will have him over a barrel as…


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jjw49
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Perfect 😀!!!!!!!!!

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etbkarate
Dec 20, 2023

Call me crazy (I've been called a lot worse) but for a guy that has done nothing in MLB, Yamamoto sure is acting like the 2nd coming of Cy Young. Wherever he ends up, he better dominate. He's opened himself up to major league criticism and abuse if he is not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

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jjw49
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Ok .... last I looked supposedly 7 teams are bidding for him, and he has a 60-day window to sign... and nowhere have I read that these teams are being forced to make an offer for his services ... He'll be an easy target If he signs in NY, he will be criticized heavily, and if he signs elsewhere he will be criticized. Reality is nobody knows how good he will be, so until he signs and pitches .... hold off on evaluating Yamamoto. 😀

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Dec 20, 2023

We just put a poll on Twitter:



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yankeerudy
Dec 20, 2023
Replying to

I also agree, but I think the point was to compare Boone to a "real manager."

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jjw49
Dec 20, 2023

Japanese players like Ohtani and Yamamoto have patience, being slow and methodical in their decision process. Giving players a drop-dead ultimatum date is the old school Yankee way... it doesn't work like the good old days. Baseball moves at a glacial pace but Yamamoto is well within the 60-day window.... but why is there a 60-day period to sign international players, shorten it to 30 days? I suspect the agent and player know exactly how much and where he signs going into this kabuki exercise. Someone mentioned a Christmas present, well it's either going to be a very Merry Christmas or one featuring a gigantic lump of coal!

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Brad Scheller
Brad Scheller
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

The Yankees should get tough and send a message.


Kidnap his dog and send this picture with a card saying "Sign with us or the dog gets it!"



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cpogo0502
Dec 20, 2023

Paul:


The more I think about it we might be better off with Corbin Burns and Bellinger rather than Yamamoto who at this point is an unknown quantity. Burns we know about - a big strong horse-man (like Cole) who did a hair under 200 innings last year and the kind of power pitcher you need in the playoffs. Yamamoto on the other hand is a smallish fellow who would be tested going up against MLB batters as well as the long haul of the MLB season. The only issue is how do we put together a package that's enticing enough to get him. I do agree with you sitting around waiting for this guy to decide is not i…

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Yes, wasn't critiquing your post, more so just wondering what your thoughts were on a possible trade. Here's the problem, once Yamamoto comes off the market, the price for Snell and Montgomery goes up. In fact, Yamamoto sets the tone for the valuation of all free agent starters going forward to a degree.


That said, front of rotation players under contract presently but perhaps with diminishing control suddenly get a whole lot more expensive. This is the reason the free agent market is moving so slowly this season. A whole bunch of agents are waiting to make a whole lot of money that they have told their clients is assured, if patience is exercised.


What team isn't desperate for starting…


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