Pitching Power Play: Dodgers eye Yamamoto, but are the Yankees winning the race for the Japanese star?

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is being targeted by MLB heavyweights, including the Yankees
Esteban Quiñones
Thursday December 14, 2023

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a relatively unknown figure to many baseball fans until his standout performances in the World Baseball Classic, is poised to become one of the most sought-after free agents. At just 25 years old, he has garnered interest from several teams, with the New York Yankees reportedly making him their top priority. The Los Angeles Dodgers, fresh off securing Ohtani, are utilizing their newfound superstar to entice Yamamoto to join their roster. The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox are also actively pursuing the Japanese pitcher, while the San Francisco Giants are in the mix, looking to bolster their pitching rotation.

Are Yamamoto going to the Dodgers?

Yoshinobu Yamamoto is being targeted by MLB heavyweights, including the Yankees
MLB

What makes Yamamoto so intriguing is not only his impressive track record in Japan, where he maintained a sub-2.00 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP over seven seasons but also the advanced pitch data available to MLB teams. Analysts, including Eno Sarris, highlight the excellence of Yamamoto’s pitches, with his splitter being touted as possibly the best in baseball. This enhanced understanding of player performance has increased teams’ confidence, leading to a willingness to invest substantial sums, potentially culminating in a 10-year, $300 million deal for Yamamoto.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of Ohtani’s contract revelation unveils the Dodgers’ willingness to grant the player unprecedented control. Ohtani possesses the option to opt out of his contract if there are changes in the Dodgers’ ownership or front-office leadership. This provision is a unique aspect rarely seen in player contracts, emphasizing the trust and control granted to Ohtani, akin to clauses seen in managerial contracts.

What’s happening?

According to The Athletic and other outlets, the Dodgers are making headlines not only for Ohtani’s deal but also for potential trade discussions involving Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow. The rumored trade includes Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot heading to Los Angeles, with pitchers Ryan Pepiot and Jonny Deluca going to Tampa. The Dodgers’ pursuit of pitching reinforcements aligns with their commitment to building a formidable rotation.

In the broader landscape of MLB, various storylines emerge, from the Mets facing injury setbacks to the Royals making strategic moves. Scott Boras provides insight into the state of the free-agent market following Ohtani’s deal, and MLB introduces a “Spring Breakout” game featuring top prospects during spring training, sparking curiosity about its potential impact on the All-Star Futures Game.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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