Sources have told ESPN that Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto is reportedly signing a 12-year $325 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This would mark one of the largest deals for a pitcher in Major League Baseball.
The Dodgers will also pay an additional $50.6 million posting fee to the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto’s previous team. Sources also stated Yamamoto himself will get an additional $50 million signing bonus.
The deal is pending a physical, and marks the end of a massive free agency bidding war. The New York Yankees were the initial favorite to sign Yamamoto with a $300 million offer, but the Dodgers beat them out with their deal. The Dodgers themselves have accounted for more than half of the spending across the MLB free agency this winter season, ESPN said.
25-year-old Yamamoto has won three consecutive MVP awards and Sawamura Awards. “Over 820⅓ innings, he has posted a 1.65 ERA, struck out nearly five times as many hitters as he has walked and allowed one home run every 28 innings,” wrote ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
“With a fastball that runs up to 99 mph, a devastating split-fingered fastball and a looping curveball that often buckles batters’ knees, he brings as good an arsenal as any pitcher who has come to Major League Baseball from Japan.
At 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, Yamamoto lacks the size of a typical frontline starter, but teams interested in him were not concerned, focusing more on the quality of stuff his body can generate,” Passan wrote.
MLB teams have been lining up for over a year to sign Yamamoto, including the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dodgers president Andrew Friedman, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Giants president Farhan Zaidi and Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer all traveled to Japan this year at some point to see Yamamoto in person, as were many others.
Yamamoto also toured across America during his free agency to meet with each team and see the cities, in the end, it seems like Yamamoto will be heading for sunny LA.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.