Brian Cashman finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in baseball:

The Yankees really, really want Shohei Ohtani.

“We have been preparing for this and thinking through this for quite some time,” Cashman said Friday morning, of a pursuit for the Japanese pitcher-outfielder, “and we’re trying to leave no stone unturned in doing so.”

Asked if the Yankees are willing to let Ohtani both pitch and hit, Cashman said, “Yes.”

On Friday afternoon, Major League Baseball’s 30 owners are expected to formally approve a new posting agreement that was negotiated by MLB, the Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball. Once that gets green-lighted, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters will post Ohtani, who already is in Los Angeles where his agent Nez Balelo of CAA is located.

Negotiations with interested clubs can begin as soon as Ohtani is posted, and he’ll have 21 days to make his decision. Each club received an extensive questionnaire from CAA last week in an effort by Ohtani, blessed by MLB, to to pare down the list of suitors. While the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Mariners are largely regarded as the favorites, Ohtani has conducted his entire career under a cloak of secrecy.