MLB News

Biggest pitcher contracts in MLB history: Yoshinobu Yamamoto beats Gerrit Cole with $325M Dodgers deal



Coveted 25-year-old right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Thursday agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 12-year, $325 million contract. Once he signs it and the pact is fully executed, it’ll become the largest contract ever given to a pitcher in MLB history. 

That’s notable enough, and that’s not even counting the substantial posting fee that’s owed to the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto’s now-former team in Japan. Add in the posting fee, and the Dodgers’ total bill grows by another $50.6 million. 

When it comes to the record total salary commitment, Yamamoto’s deal just barely edges out the previous record-holder, Gerrit Cole and his $324 million deal with the Yankees. Now here’s an updated look at those largest pitcher contracts ever in MLB: 

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dodgers


$325 million

Gerrit Cole, Yankees


$324 million

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals


$245 million

Jacob deGrom, Rangers


$185 million

Aaron Nola, Phillies


$172 million

Carlos Rodón, Yankees


$162 million

Yamamoto’s is also the longest contract given to a pitcher, which reflects the fact that he’s just 25 years of age, making him uncommonly young for a free agent. Of those six biggest pitcher contracts, four — Yamamoto’s, deGrom’s, Nola’s, and Rodón’s — have been agreed to within the last two offseasons. 

As for the biggest contracts of all, Yamamoto’s new Dodger teammate Shohei Ohtani of course owns that record with his $700 million deal. Yamamoto’s is now tied with Corey Seager of the Rangers for the ninth-biggest contract in MLB, regardless of whether it was signed by a pitcher or position player.

His shiny new Dodgers deal also shatters the record for an NPB player posted to MLB, previously held by Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year deal worth $155 million with the New York Yankees in January 2014. Yamamoto more than doubled that.

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