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Los Angeles Dodgers sign Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-Year $325 Million Contract


Los Angeles Dodgers sign Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-Year $325 Million Contract

On Thursday, December 21st, 2023 the Japanese superstar ball player, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed upon a 12-year contract worth up to approximately $325 million which ended a frenzied free agency period finalizing with the largest deal for a pitcher in years. In fact, the largest in the overall value of a contract in Major League Baseball history.

The deal in which the Los Angeles Dodgers will inevitably pay an additional $50.6 million posting fee to Yamamoto's former Japanese team, the Orix Buffaloes, pushed the Los Angeles Dodgers' free agent spending this current MLB offseason to over $1 billion, following the 10-year contract valued at around $700 million in which they gave to Shohei Ohtani, who just so happens to be Yamamoto's fellow countryman.

Yamamoto, who has a total of 2 opt outs in this new MLB contract, will receive a $50 million signing bonus, according to sources. Unlike Shohei Ohtani’s new deal, in which $680 million is deferred 10-years out from now, Yamamoto's contract does not contain any deferred money from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Other Franchises Interested in Yoshinobu Yamamoto:

The new agreement between the L. A. Dodgers and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which depends all upon him passing his pending physical, comes right after a wild 48-hours in which the Los Angeles Dodgers outlasted the New York Mets, who offered a very similar contract, and the New York Yankees, who were long - time the favorites in this recent acquisition. Although the Los Angeles Dodgers ended up offering close to $300 million according to trusted sources covering Major League Baseball.

The Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays were in the bidding as well, but they could not overcome the Los Angeles Dodgers during that recent bidding war, and who have now accounted for more than half the spending across the entire Major League Baseball landscape throughout the history of the 2023-2024 MLB free agency market this past offseason.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto:

The now 25-year-old Yamamoto, a right-handed pitcher who has won 3 straight MVP awards as well as Sawamura Awards (Nippon Professional Baseball's equivalent of the MLB Cy Young Award) has dominated the NPB like nobody in the history of the league's 74 - years ever since transitioning from the bullpen to the Orix's starting pitching rotation back in 2019. Over the course of his 820 ⅓ - innings, Yamamoto has posted an ERA of 1.65 while striking out nearly 5 - times as many hitters as he has provided walks to and allowing just 1 home run throughout every 28 innings on average at this point.

With a solid sneaky fastball that runs up to somewhere around 99 - mile per - hour, a batter busting split - fingered - fastball, and a strange looking yet effective looping curveball that often buckles the knees of opposing hitters.

Yamamoto brings as good a starting pitching arsenal as any hurler who has come to Major League Baseball from the baseball competent country of Japan in which he played all 7 - professional baseball seasons with the Orix Buffaloes.

At just 5 foot 10 and only 176 pounds, Yoshi lacks the size of a typical premier starting pitcher, but some many of the MLB franchises that were interested in him were not too concerned and decided to focus more on the quality of stuff his body can ultimately generate.

Yamamoto just so happens to throw like he does via a unique specialized training method that focuses on flexibility as well as movement over brute raw strength. Yamamoto does not waste his time lifting weights, but instead he relies on a specific regiment of the body - weight exercises, stretches, and a significant amount of throwing drills (from tiny soccer balls, to mini javelins, to long toss, and bullpens with regulation - sized baseballs.

Yoshi’s athleticism, the majority of the evaluators, and other factors can be attributed to him becoming a very impactful force on the ball diamond even though he is just a little guy.

Some of his opposing squads back in Japan have been lining up to sign him for well over a year now. They expected Yamamoto to be inked up with a new Major League Baseball franchise after he turned the age of 25 - years - old back in last August of 2023.

The Los Angeles Dodgers president in Andrew Friedman, the New York Yankees general manager in Brian Cashman, the San Francisco Giants president in Farhan Zaidi, and the Chicago Cubs president of Jed Hoyer were among the top MLB executives who recently have traveled to Japan earlier this year to see Yamamoto play ball in person.

Once Yoshinobu was officially down with the new agreement with a 45-day contingency window in order for him to ultimately sign his deal. The New York Mets owner, Steve Cohen, and president, David Stearns, flew way out East to meet with the young phenom. Yamamoto's interviewing free agency tour around the United States of America included another stop with the New York Mets, a pair of visits with the New York Yankees as well as some serious meetings with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Boston Red Sox.

The get - togethers helped Yoshi cement his most important priorities prior to the teams started talking terms of the deal with Yamamoto and his sports agent in Joel Wolfe. Of Yamamoto's 5 – suburb pro baseball seasons as a starting pitcher, 2023 was perhaps the best of all of those. Throughout that time, he posted an ERA of 1.21 over the course of 164 - innings, a 6 too 1 strikeout to base on balls ratio, all while giving up only 2 - home runs.

Yamamoto's new contract agreement with the L. A. Dodgers, which was earlier reported by ESPN's one and only Buster Olney, beats out Gerrit Cole's $324 million guaranteed from the New York Yankees by a total of $1 million.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Baseball Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards


  • Japan Series Champion (2022)
  • 5 - Time NPB All - Star Selection (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Japanese Triple Crown (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Pacific League MVP Award Winner (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Eiji Sawamura Award Winner (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Best Nine Award Winner (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Pacific League Golden Glove Award Winner (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Best Battery Award Winner with Catcher Kenya Wakatsuki (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 4 - Time Pacific League ERA Champion (2019, 2021, 2022, 2023)
  • 4 - Time Pacific League Strikeout Champion (2020, 2022, 2023)
  • 3 - Time Pacific League Wins Champion (2021, 2022, 2023)
  • Interleague Play MVP Award Winner (2021)
  • Pitched 2 - No - Hitters (June 18, 2022 & September 9, 2023)


  • Tokyo 2020 All - Olympic Baseball Team (2021)


“Sources: Japanese star Yamamoto goes to Dodgers for 12 years, $325M”, Jeff Passan, espn.com, December 21, 2023.

“Yoshinobu Yamamoto”, baseball-reference.com, December 22, 2023.