The Hot Stove was barely simmering for most of the week as the baseball world waited for the signing of Japanese star pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The week began with the right-hander meeting with the Mets and Yankees in New York and multiple teams extending offers. By the end of the week, Yamamoto signed with the Dodgers, who seem to be pulling out all the stops to improve their team. There were a few smaller-yet-notable transactions, so let’s dig in!
Dodgers spending spree continues by signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto
There were reports early on Thursday that Yamamoto would be joining Shohei Ohtani at the Los Angeles Rams game that evening, but that news was shot down as it got closer to kickoff, and now we know why. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the Dodgers and Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto agreed to a 12-year, $325 million contract, including a $50 million signing bonus, two opt-outs, and no deferred money. As typical, this deal is pending a physical, and an additional $50.6 million posting fee will be sent to the Orix Buffalos of Nippon Professional Baseball. This offseason has been a spending frenzy for the Dodgers, and they have committed over $1.1 billion to improving their roster. As a result, the Dodgers’ rotation is arguably the best in the league, with Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow, Walker Buehler, Bobby Miller, and Emmet Sheehan in two. And don’t forget that Ohtani has a chance to join that group entering next season as he returns to the mound from elbow surgery.
Yamamoto has been NPB’s best pitcher over the last couple of seasons, posting a 1.82 ERA and 0.93 WHIP across eight seasons with the Buffalos. Unsurprisingly, he took home the Sawamura Award in the last three seasons, an award given to the best pitcher in Japan. The 24-year-old also has tossed at least 171 innings over the past three seasons, which should give fantasy managers confidence that he is ready to transition to MLB workloads. Yamamoto has a fastball in the mid-nineties and a splitter that could be the best in the majors. Lance Brozdowski of Marquee Sports had an excellent breakdown of this wicked splitter.
Entering the offseason, many expected the young right-hander to land a large contract, but no one expected him to surpass $300 million. His $325 million guaranteed is more than Gerrit Cole received, albeit Cole’s was a nine-year contract as opposed to Yamamoto’s 12-year deal. Andy Martino of SNY reported that the Yankees offered $300 million while the Mets…