LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized their 12-year deal with right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, teaming the prized free agent with Shohei Ohtani in their prolific winter spending spree.
The Dodgers didn’t disclose the value of the deal they announced Wednesday, but several media reports have tagged it at $325 million. That would be the largest and longest contract ever guaranteed to a major league pitcher.
The 25-year-old Yamamoto has been Japan’s most dominant pitcher over the past few seasons, and he was coveted by teams across the majors after he elected to leave the Orix Buffaloes this offseason. The big-budget, pitching-poor Dodgers landed him with another mammoth December deal after signing two-way AL MVP Ohtani to a $700 million contract and signing right-hander Tyler Glasnow to a $136.5 million, five-year deal after his acquisition from Tampa Bay.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the Orix organization, the Dodger organization and all the people close to me who have given me so much support throughout this free-agent process,” Yamamoto said in a statement. “I am truly excited to wear Dodger Blue and can’t wait to play in front of a packed Dodger Stadium.”
The Dodgers are getting a 5-foot-10 right-hander widely regarded as the world’s best pitcher outside North America — and one with potential to become a major league ace after a stellar start to his career in Japan.
Yamamoto has posted spectacular numbers in Japan’s top league in recent years, winning three straight Most Valuable Player awards in the Nippon Pacific League. He went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA while striking out 169 and walking just 28 this year, winning the Japanese pitching triple crown by leading the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA.
“You don’t win three MVP awards by the age of 25 without an exceptional combination of talent, work ethic and mental toughness,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “He’s an elite pitcher with an impressive dedication to his craft who will only become more dynamic in a Dodger uniform. We are thrilled for him to be a mainstay at the top of our starting rotation for years to come.”
Yamamoto’s six-pitch repertoire includes a dependable splitter, an effective four-seam fastball and a vicious curveball, all thrown with excellent command.
He has thrown two no-hitters in the past two years, and he has a 1.72 ERA in his career. Yamamoto is exceptionally good at limiting his opponents’…