YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 04: Yoshinobu Yamamoto #17 of Team Japan looks on before the game against Team Republic of Korea during the semifinals of men's baseball on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 04, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan.
Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Seems To Have Decided on an MLB City

Although the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes haven't come to a conclusion quite yet, the Japanese superstar may have already narrowed his decision to one city. 

According to a recent report from Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Yamamoto specifically requested a second free agency meeting with the New York Yankees in order to further discuss potentially signing with the team. This news came hours after it was announced that Yamamoto had dinner with Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets, at Cohen's Connecticut home.

So although Heyman did note that the Dodgers, Red Sox and the Giants are still suitors for Yamamoto, the only two teams that have reportedly landed second interviews with the 25-year-old Japanese right hander are both located in New York. 

The Yankees' first meeting with Yamamoto didn't take place in the Big Apple; it was held in Southern California last Monday, while Yamamoto was on the West Coast interviewing with the California teams that are interested in signing him. The Yankees' brass members who met with Yamamoto in California last week included owner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, team president Randy Levine, manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake.

Although it's unknown exactly who was at Cohen's Connecticut dinner, it was reported to be a "contingent" of Mets coaches, staffers and perhaps even players such as Kodai Senga, the Mets' standout pitcher who also hails from Japan.

Considering the deep-pocketed teams still interested in signing Yamamoto, there's a good chance that the reported $200 million asking price that Yamamoto's free agency courting process began with could end up exceeding $300 million. 

Now that Shohei Ohtani is off the free agency market, Yamamoto is now competing with Blake Snell to be the hottest pitching free agent in the 2023-24 MLB offseason. Yamamoto has gone 75-30 with a 1.72 ERA, 0.92 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings across his seven seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. 

Yet, considering that Snell is 31 years old, while Yamamoto is just 25, one would imagine that Yamamoto will command a higher asking price than the 2023 NL Cy Young Award winner — if only because Yamamoto's contract will likely be for more years than Snell's.

Although we haven't heard when Yamamoto will make his ultimate signing decision, we know it will have to arrive before Jan. 4, as that's when his official posting window will close. Therefore, the two Big Apple teams have just over two weeks to convince Yamamoto that they're the right fit for him.