Dodgers sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto, spending $1B on free agents

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Signs Record-Breaking Deal with Los Angeles Dodgers

In a stunning move that has sent shockwaves throughout the baseball world, Yoshinobu Yamamoto has agreed to a groundbreaking 12-year, $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal, which includes a $50 million signing bonus and two opt-outs, is the largest contract ever given to a Japanese pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.

The news was first reported by MLB insider Jeff Passan, who revealed that the deal does not include any deferred money, unlike Shohei Ohtani’s contract with the Los Angeles Angels. This historic pact surpasses the seven-year, $155 million contract that Masahiro Tanaka received from the New York Yankees in 2014, making it the most lucrative deal for a Japanese pitcher in terms of total value.

Yamamoto, a five-time NPB All-Star, made his professional debut for the Orix Buffaloes in 2017 at the age of 19. Since then, the 25-year-old has established himself as one of the premier pitchers in Japan, winning three consecutive Triple Crowns (best ERA, most wins, most strikeouts) and three straight Eiji Sawamura Awards (the NPB equivalent of the Cy Young Award). He has also been named the Pacific League MVP for three consecutive years.

With a career ERA of 1.82 and 922 strikeouts over six seasons, Yamamoto has proven himself to be a dominant force on the mound. His impressive performances have also translated to the international stage, where he played a crucial role in Japan’s gold-medal-winning 2020 Olympic baseball team and helped secure another gold at the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Miami.

Yamamoto’s arsenal of pitches is equally impressive, with five above-average or better offerings. His four-seam fastball consistently reaches velocities of up to 97 mph, while his two-seam fastball, cutter, and curveball keep hitters off balance. However, it is his splitter that is widely regarded as his best pitch, according to scouting reports.

The Dodgers’ acquisition of Yamamoto is a significant move that further strengthens their already formidable pitching rotation. With the addition of the Japanese phenom, the defending World Series champions are poised to maintain their dominance in the years to come.

While the reported details of the contract are yet to be confirmed officially, the reported agreement between Yamamoto and the Dodgers has sent shockwaves across the league. It is a testament to the growing international influence in MLB and highlights the increasing value placed on top-tier talent from Japan. With this record-breaking deal, Yamamoto has set a new benchmark for Japanese pitchers entering the major leagues, and it will be fascinating to see how he performs in his new challenge with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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