Yoshinobu Yamamoto rumors: Red Sox still in, battle for NYC, why not Cubs?

  • The Cubs need Yoshinobu Yamamoto more than most teams.
  • The Yankees and Mets engaged in 'bare-knuckled' brawl for Yamamoto
  • Red Sox willing to push beyond comfort zone in Yamamoto bidding

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Japan / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages
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Yoshinobu Yamamoto rumors: We can't count out the Red Sox

The widely speculated favorites to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto are the New York squads and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have star power and spending power out the wazoo. The Boston Red Sox can't be discounted, however, according to the latest report from Jen McCaffrey and Chad Jennings of The Athletic.

Boston is still "very much in the mix," but there is concern that a bidding war could progress beyond the Red Sox' limit. The Red Sox will "extend past their comfort zone," but could stop shy of the major, potentially historic offer Yamamoto is due to receive from one (or many) of the myriad interested parties.

Yamamoto is known to care about situation as well as money. He wants to play in a notable market with the chance to compete and craft a legacy. Boston has a long history of great pitchers, but 2023 resulted in a last-place finish. That won't preclude the Red Sox from bouncing back into the contender's circle next season, potentially with Yamamoto leading the charge next to Chris Sale and the upstart Brayan Bello on the mound.

The Red Sox have a few unique advantages on their side. In addition to a notable Japanese teammate for Yamamoto to relate to — Masataka Yoshida — Boston also has three Japanese-speaking members of their medical staff. That includes strength coach, Kiyoshi Momose, who spent time with Yoshida in Japan this offseason, per The Athletic. The Yankees and Mets don't have any Japanese-speaking staffers. A small, but potentially noteworthy advantage for the Sox.

Boston has been frustratingly quiet in free agency despite promises from new CBO Craig Breslow and others to improve the roster. There's still time to pivot after Yamamoto, but if the 25-year-old goes elsewhere — and that's still the most likely outcome — Boston will have a lot of work to do to keep up in the AL East arms race.