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Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing winners and losers: Shohei Ohtani gets another Dodgers co-star, Yankees, Mets miss

Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing winners and losers: Shohei Ohtani gets another Dodgers co-star, Yankees, Mets miss


Another star is headed to Hollywood. Thursday night the Los Angeles Dodgers landed prized Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto with a record 12-year, $325 million contract. It is the largest pitching contract in history. The deal includes no deferrals, and the Dodgers will pay the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto’s former team, a posting fee just north of $50 million. All-in, it’s a $375 million investment.

Yamamoto will join Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and his pal Shohei Ohtani to give the Dodgers the closest thing MLB has ever seen to a Golden State Warriors-esque superteam. Will it lead to World Series titles (plural)? That remains to be seen. It’s harder to win the World Series now than ever before given the large postseason field and inherent randomness of short series.

With Yamamoto headed to Chavez Ravine, let’s crown some winners and losers, shall we? We shall.

Winner: Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Let’s start with the obvious: the guy signing the $325 million contract is a winner and a big one. The timing could not have worked out better for Yamamoto. He made the jump to MLB during an offseason with a relatively thin pitching free agent class and at a time when the Dodgers, and also the Mets and Yankees, were desperate and ready to spend. Joel Wolfe, Yamamoto’s agent, expertly leveraged the big-market teams against each other and the result is the largest contract ever given to a pitcher, and it went to a pitcher who’s never thrown a single pitch in MLB.

Winner: Dodgers

They got Ohtani and now they got Yamamoto (and they got Tyler Glasnow too). It cost them 10 figures — Ohtani and Yamamoto signed contracts worth a combined $1.025 billion — but they landed the sport’s coolest and most talented player and also a budding 25-year-old ace with so many peak years ahead of him. Special players get special contracts and the Dodgers signed two special players in Ohtani and Yamamoto. The fan base is energized and what was already a 100-win roster is greatly improved. 

Losers: Mets and Yankees

For the first time in a very long time, maybe since Dave Winfield, we were poised to have a good old fashioned Mets vs. Yankees free agent bidding war. Steve Cohen’s deep pockets vs. the iconic Yankees brand. And in the end, neither won out. The Mets wanted Yamamoto to be the prime-aged centerpiece of their quasi-rebuild and the Yankees wanted Yamamoto to help turn around a team that went 82-80 in 2023 and…

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