The offseason has been in full swing for almost two weeks, but aside from a few managerial changes and minor transactions, it's been radio silence. Cardinals fans are eager to make a splash and bolster their rotation for 2024, but the market has been slow and there have been very few reports of any deals getting close. Many Cardinals fans have their eyes on perhaps the most prized pitcher on the market, Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
This Thursday, Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar took to Instagram to post a story of him and Yamamoto golfing together. Immediately, Cardinals fans were wondering "Is Lars Nootbaar recruiting Yamamoto to join the Cardinals?" Of course, the need for starting pitching is evident and Yamamoto would be a great fit, but it's difficult to see this as anything more than a friendly meetup between two WBC teammates.
One thing to note, however, is that Yamamoto was scheduled to come to the United States for a physical and he will be posted once that is completed. Based on the time of day in the golfing video, it's clear Yamamoto has already arrived in America and is enjoying time with Nootbaar beforehand. It is unconfirmed but also very likely that he will have negotiations with representatives of various MLB teams as well after he is posted.
Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, it's most likely that Nootbaar and Yamamoto are golfing in Southern California and not St. Louis. Nootbaar typically spends his offseason in the Los Angeles area, so if Yamamoto is there to meet with any Major League team, it's most likely the Dodgers who have expressed tremendous interest in acquiring the 25-year-old ace.
However the Cardinals are interested in Yamamoto as it's been reported, his friendship with Nootbaar and his ties to Nolan Arenado through agent Joel Wolfe can only help their cause.