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MLB rumors: Latest in free agency after Yoshinobu Yamamoto deal with Blue Jays eyeing outfield help

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The latest blockbuster signing of the offseason came down Thursday night: Yoshinobu Yamamoto joined the Dodgers on a record 12-year, $325 million contract. It is the largest pitching contract in history, and the Dodgers will pay Yamamoto’s former team, the Orix Buffaloes, a posting fee just north of $50 million. All-in, they’re spending $375 million to pair the righty with $700 million man Shohei Ohtani. With Yamamoto signed, things should pick up with the rest of free agency soon. Here are Friday’s hot stove rumors.

Blue Jays in contact with Taylor

The Blue Jays are in contact with free agent center fielder Michael A. Taylor, reports MLB.com. Toronto does not necessarily need a center fielder to replace Kevin Kiermaier, as Daulton Varsho is more than capable of playing center. But signing Taylor would allow the Blue Jays to continue fielding an elite outfield defense. Outfield defense was one of the team’s strengths in 2023.

Taylor, 32, quietly hit 21 home runs with the Twins this past season, though they came with a .278 on-base percentage and a 33.5% strikeout rate. That said, you can live with a dingers-and-defense center fielder as the No. 9 hitter. The downside for the Blue Jays is Taylor would be yet another right-handed hitter in a lineup that badly needs a lefty (or two) to balance things out.

Multiple teams bidding for Rodriguez

The Astros, Blue Jays, Pirates, and Yankees are among the teams bidding for Cuban righty Yariel Rodriguez, according to MLB.com. Rodriguez, 26, did not pitch in 2023 after breaking his contract with the Chunichi…

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