Before Yoshinobu Yamamoto began his USA tour visiting different teams, the New York Mets were already in pursuit. Owner Steve Cohen flew to the other side of the world to meet with Yamamoto in Japan. On Saturday, they reunited for dinner at Cohen's home.
A visit and some grub won't seal a deal with Yamamoto. With the expectation of him getting over $300 million at this point, the ridiculous offers coming his way will likely come down to money above any sort of gesture Cohen may make outside of the paycheck.
What if the Mets are willing to match any best offer? We like to think this personal touch that worked on Justin Verlander last offseason is what gives the Mets the greatest advantage.
Steve Cohen staying this involved on free agent pursuits is the best Mets news we can get
Cohen's money is one thing. His involvement is another. By being present with Yamamoto, he's letting the young star and the rest of the baseball world know how much he still cares about the success of this team. The timing has kept Mets fans wide-eyed. Let’s be honest, this offseason has been slower than Daniel Vogelbach going first to third.
In the early stages of an offseason where the Mets have been more frugal than we had hoped, it's a nice reminder of how in contention this team always will be for top stars. They mine as well already take dinner orders for Juan Soto. He'll be the next star treated like royalty courtesy of the Cohen Family.
A meeting on Sunday with the New York Yankees shouldn’t have Mets fans too concerned about any sudden shift in where Yamamoto lands. Cohen’s pitch, whatever it may have been over dinner alongside Carlos Mendoza and Jeremy Hefner, is in. Does Yamamoto chow down on only his food or will he take a bite into what the Mets have to offer?
Yamamoto is the hottest free agent right now. No other owner has flown to Japan or had him over for dinner. Let’s just be glad it isn’t the Wilpons who invited him over. They would’ve served Lunchables and made Yamamoto pay them back.