Dodgers sign prized pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto for $325 million, claims reports

According to various sources, prized free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a $325 million, 12-year contract.

Yamamoto will join Japanese countryman Shohei Ohtani with the Dodgers, who signed the two-way phenom to a seven-figure, ten-year contract last week.

On Thursday night, the Dodgers did not confirm their deal with Yamamoto. MLB.com and ESPN were among the outlets that reported the trade using anonymous sources.

Among the many clubs interested in Yamamoto were the New York Yankees and the New York Mets.

It’s the NL West champion Dodgers’ third major pitching acquisition this offseason. In addition to Ohtani, the organization signed right-hander Tyler Glasnow to a five-year, $136.5 million contract after trading him from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ohtani sent Glasnow a video pitch to join him in Hollywood.

“It was important to Shohei that this wasn’t the only move we were going to make,” Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman stated last week at Ohtani’s first press conference.

Yamamoto went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA in 164 innings, striking out 169 and walking 28. In seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, he is 70-29 with a 1.82 ERA. Yamamoto struck out 14 batters in a Japan Series-record 138 pitches in a Game 6 triumph over Hanshin on Nov. 5. Game 7 was lost by Orix.

Dodgers sign prized pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto for $325 million, claims reports

The 25-year-old right-hander was posted by Orix on Nov. 20, and Major League Baseball teams had until Jan. 4 to sign him.

Yamamoto’s contract with the Dodgers would be the highest and longest-term guarantee ever given to a major league pitcher.

Ohtani was a two-time AL MVP with the Los Angeles Angels before becoming a free agency and joining the Dodgers this offseason.

Yamamoto pitched his second career no-hitter, the 100th in Japanese major league history, for the Buffaloes against the Lotte Marines on September 9. His scoreless streak was extended to 42 innings during the game, which was seen by MLB management.

Yamamoto, a two-time Pacific League MVP, also pitched a no-hitter against the Seibu Lions last June 18. In Japan’s World Baseball Classic quarterfinal triumph against Mexico in March, his fastball averaged 95 mph and peaked at 96.6 mph. In a 3 1/3-inning relief appearance, he threw 20 fastballs, 19 splitters, six curveballs, six cutters, and one slider. Batters hit 11 of his splitters, missing four.

Yamamoto, who relieved hard-throwing 21-year-old phenom Roki Sasaki, allowed two runs and three hits in three-and-a-third innings with four strikeouts and two walks, allowing Alex Verdugo’s RBI double. When Isaac Paredes hit an RBI single against Atsuki Yuasa, Yamamoto was charged with a second run.

The posting fee under the MLB-NPB agreement will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league deal, including earned bonuses and options. The proportion reduces to 17.5% for the next $25 million and 15% for amounts greater than $50 million. There would be a 15% surcharge on any earned bonuses, salary escalators, or exercised options.

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