Yoshinobu Yamamoto signs free-agent deal with Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a major move in the offseason by signing top Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year contract worth a whopping $325 million. The deal, which has not been confirmed by the team, was reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Yamamoto, just 25 years old, is considered a potential frontline starter despite his smaller stature at 5-foot-10. His pitching repertoire includes a fastball that clocks in at the mid-to-upper 90s, as well as multiple wipeout secondary pitches like his signature curveball, splitter, and cutter/slider.

The young pitcher comes to the Major Leagues after winning the pitching Triple Crown in Nippon Professional Baseball, leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He also claimed the Eiji Sawamura Award, Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young, for three consecutive seasons, posting an impressive 49-16 record with a 1.44 ERA and 580 strikeouts during that time.

Yamamoto solidified his status as a star with a remarkable 14-strikeout complete game in what turned out to be his final NPB start, leading Orix to victory in Game 6 of the Japan Series. Although the Buffaloes ultimately lost the series to the Hanshin Tigers, Yamamoto’s standout performance showcased his talent in the spotlight.

Prior to his success in Japan, Yamamoto had already achieved significant milestones, including helping Orix win the Japan Series in 2022 and winning gold for Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

With this move to the Dodgers, Yamamoto aims to follow in the footsteps of other Japanese pitchers who have successfully transitioned from NPB to Major League Baseball. Notable examples include Shohei Ohtani, Hideo Nomo, Yu Darvish, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Koji Uehara, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenta Maeda, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Masahiro Tanaka.

The Dodgers’ acquisition of Yamamoto signifies a major investment in a promising talent with the potential to make a substantial impact in the Major Leagues. As the winter continues, this move adds significant intrigue and excitement to the upcoming baseball season, as fans eagerly anticipate Yamamoto’s debut in a Dodgers uniform.


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