Boston Red Sox fans have been impatiently waiting for the "full throttle" promise in reference to the Red Sox offseason plans, made by Chairperson Tom Werner, to really hold any merit. However, according to recent reports from MLB insiders Jim Bowden and Marino Pepén, it's starting to look like the Red Sox front office may be doing everything they can to at least somewhat deliver on that promise.
Bowden reported Saturday that both the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox have made offers north of $300 million for highly sought-after Japanese pitching phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Bowden has since followed up that report by doubling down and saying the Red Sox are "legitimately in this thing," and a deal could end up being 12-14 years to minimize the contract's AAV.
We've seen the extensive lengths teams have gone to try and secure the 25-year-old right-hander's services. Steve Cohen's trip to Japan, dinner meetings in New York, Yamamoto's trip to Dodger Stadium, Shohei Ohtani's presence during the meeting in LA ... teams are trying anything and everything. In an offseason where record-shattering money is flying off the table and deals we have never seen before are unfolding before us, are the Red Sox entering the wrong arena and playing a losing game?
Don't get it twisted, a Yamamoto signing to the Red Sox would be monumental and the biggest free agent signing for the Red Sox since J.D. Martinez five years ago. It would negate any Craig Breslow speculation and further cement John Henry's legacy in Boston. And most importantly, on the field, the Red Sox would have fear-inducing fire power in their rotation once again in a division that is only getting better by the day.
On the more hopeless side, though, are the Red Sox playing a losing game getting into the Yamamoto sweepstakes? After years of pent up frustration by fans over particular deals (or the lack thereof), the firing of Chaim Bloom, and the Mookie Betts trade still stinging like a fresh-cut wound, it's as if Henry and Breslow's hand was seemingly forced to get as aggressive as possible when Yamamoto posted for free agency. However, is $300 million plus for a player that has never stepped foot on a major league field as egregious as it sounds? Should the Red Sox be getting their hands dirty with such a blockbuster deal?
Here's why Red Sox going all in on Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be a losing game
As alluded to before, in an unprecedented offseason where money is essentially not an object for a lot of teams and you have not one, but two generational superstars from the same country changing the landscape of free agency, desperation is causing teams to shell out cash for players that they likely never would have even a few years ago. Are we forgetting Mookie Betts' signing with the Dodgers? $365 million. Currently the third-largest contract in the history of Major League Baseball. Are we really going to suggest offering Yamamoto similar cash does not carry with it massive implications? Risky implications, at that.
Furthermore, let's not act like Yamamoto and Yamamoto alone, is going to fix a Red Sox team that has come in last in their division in consecutive years. Would it help? Absolutely. But surrendering that kind of cash for an essential dice-roll, in my eyes, is a losing game.
Red Sox fans are now genuinely getting their hopes up of landing the superstar through reported leaks of massive deals and rumors of meetings, creating an unnecessary sense of "Yamamoto or bust" when talking about the 2023 Red Sox offseason - again, a losing game, when in fact there are several avenues the Red Sox could explore to still deem this offseason a success.
I conclude that if the Red Sox do in fact sign Yashinobu Yamamoto, I will be euphoric. I will never be upset over added star power. I just fear the Red Sox may be playing a losing game, and a game they may want to reconsider.