MLB

Dodgers reportedly sign Japanese pitcher Yamamoto to record 12-year, $325 million deal

By Sports Desk December 22, 2023

The Los Angeles Dodgers landed the prize of the free-agent market Thursday night, reportedly agreeing with Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on a record 12-year, $325 million deal.

The deal comes after Yamamoto was posted and made available to MLB teams in November. The Dodgers paid a $50.6 million posting fee to sign Yamamoto, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Yamamoto, 25, is considered a frontline starter and leaves Japan as the most decorated pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history.

He made his debut with Orix Buffaloes at age 18 and went on to record a 1.82 ERA in a seven-year career.

Yamamoto won the pitching Triple Crown last season, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He went 49-16 with a 1.44 ERA and 580 strikeouts over the last three seasons, winning Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young each year.

He is the first player since Ichiro Suzuki to win three straight MVPs in the NPB and only the second pitcher ever to win three, after Hisashi Yamada.

His contract is the largest for a pitcher in MLB history, topping the nine-year, $324 million deal Gerrit Cole signed with the Yankees in 2019.

Yamamoto’s record deal comes after the Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million deal, but unlike that contract, Yamamoto’s reportedly does not contain any deferrals. It does have a reported $50 million signing bonus.

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