Lars Nootbaar has been pushing for the Cardinals to sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Lars Nootbaar wants the best free agent starting pitcher in St. Louis
Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

Lars Nootbaar's friendship with free agent starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto is no secret. The two have spent significant time together this offseason, golfing together, exploring Beverly Hills, and taking photos together after Yamamoto's start in the Japan Series. With a clear need for more starting pitching, Cardinal fans have long speculated that Nootbaar has been recruiting Yamamoto to sign with the Cardinals despite a hefty price tag, and that has now been confirmed.

On the Noot News Podcast charity livestream which I hosted alongside Redbird Rants site expert Josh Jacobs and contributor Sandy McMillan, Bally Sports Midwest reporter Jim Hayes revealed that he recently interviewed Lars Nootbaar for an episode of Cat's Corner and asked him about the Cardinals' interest in Yamamoto and their chances of landing the 25-year old ace.

Nootbaar said that he's been lobbying hard for Yamamoto to sign with the Cardinals, and telling him how great it is to play baseball in St. Louis. Moreover, his mother, who is great friends with Yamamoto's mother, has been discussing the same thing with her. Simply put, it is still possible, however unlikely, that the Cardinals will sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Yamamoto's price has increased dramatically in the past weeks, especially with Shohei Ohtani's $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with many expecting him to receive a contract north of $300 million (before the hefty posting fee). As many of our other guests pointed out during the stream, the Cardinals might've stood a better chance had the contract been closer to $200 million, but Nootbaar's optimism is certainly a good sign.