Yankees Actively Scouting Japanese Ace Starting Pitcher

The New York Yankees are already looking ahead to next offseason as they try to land one of the best pitchers in the world.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

We are only a few days into the 2024 MLB regular season but the rumors are already emerging about future transactions. Teams have already started looking ahead to next offseason to bring in the best talent from around the world. The New York Yankees are no different.

One player who is on every team's radar is Roki Sasaki of Chiba Lotte Marines of NPB. With Yoshinobu Yamamoto now with the LA Dodgers, Sasaki is considered the best pitcher in the world outside MLB.

The 22-year-old phenom just had his season debut over the weekend and the Yankees were among the eight teams who scouted the right-handed pitcher. Sasaki struck out seven and allowed one run on six hits in five innings.

Yankees Scouting Japanese Ace Roki Sasaki

Over the last three seasons, Sasaki has thrown 283 2/3 innings with 376 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA.

Sasaki has gone public about his desire to be posted for MLB teams last offseason. However, the MLB doesn't allow prospects under 25 with fewer than six pro seasons to sign anything more than a minor league contract. Considering how young Sasaki is, he would be forfeiting a massive payday if he were to come to MLB before then. If he waits until 25, he could follow in Yamamoto's footsteps and sign a massive free-agent contract right away.

That is not the only way Sasaki might follow Yamamoto's footsteps. The Dodgers seem to be the frontrunners to sign the phenom due to his relationship with Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto. The trio were teammates in last year's World Baseball Classic.

However, the Yankees will almost certainly do everything they can to land Sasaki next winter or whenever he may want to come over.

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