The Boston Red Sox were among the teams competing for the signature of Japanese pitching phenomenon Yoshinobu Yamamoto earlier this winter. Chairman Tom Werner stated that the Red Sox would be going "full throttle" to better the team and that they had no financial limitations entering discussions.
But Boston left the negotiating table without Yamamoto.
Many fans were upset Boston didn't win the pitcher over. But the miss was understandable — there were many teams in the hunt for Yamamoto's signature, and the hurler grew up a Dodger fan in Japan. After Shohei Ohtani signed with LA earlier in the offseason, the thought that Yamamoto would don Dodger Blue by the time the season rolled around became a near-guarantee.
The Red Sox have more than enough money at their disposal to sign someone who demands a check as large as Yamamoto does, though, and fans are aware of the size of the fortune that's burning a hole in team owner John Henry's pocket.
The Red Sox's offseason died after they whiffed on Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Just before Winter Weekend, the Red Sox's winter fan festival, new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow became quite a public face in the media. He made himself available for podcasts and interviews to clear up some fans' burning questions.
Breslow appeared on the "Baseball Isn't Boring" podcast, hosted by WEEI's Rob Bradford. When Bradford asked Breslow if he thought the Red Sox were among the finalists for Yamamoto's services, he dodged the question, saying he believed they were "competitive" and they "put their best foot forward."
So, no, Boston likely wasn't among Yamamoto's top choices. Not great, considering signing Yamamoto is starting to look like it was the Red Sox's only plan for the offseason.
It's been reported the Sox offered Yamamoto $300 million to come and play for them. This information has not been publicly confirmed by anyone in Boston's front office, and MLB insider Jeff Passan of ESPN has suggested that reports of many $300 million offers by a few teams were false.
Yamamoto accepted an offer of 12 years and $325 million. If their $300 million offer was real, the Red Sox weren't necessarily uncompetitive. But the $25 million it would've taken to match the Dodgers' offer is just a drop in the bucket for Henry.
Breslow's reluctance to directly answer Bradford's question (and no official confirmation of the offer extended to Yamamoto) feels like the front office is trying to keep something concealed. It's possible the Red Sox weren't as competitive as they want fans to believe. Or maybe they made a bigger offer than $300 million, but not even that much money could draw Yamamoto to Boston because of the team's current situation.
Regardless of the offer, whiffing on Yamamoto sent the rest of the Red Sox's offseason into a downward spiral. And Boston is still left without an ace.