On December 22, 2023, the Los Angeles Dodgers made headlines by signing top Japanese pitcher, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, to a 12-year, $325 million contract. This also included a $50 million signing bonus to entice him to leave Japan and join Major League Baseball.
At 25 years old, Yamamoto is widely regarded as one of Japan’s greatest pitchers. He has won the Eiji Sawamura Award three times and boasts a remarkable 75-30 record with a 1.72 ERA and 0.92 WHIP during his tenure with the Orix Buffaloes in the Japanese Pacific League.
In 2023, Yamamoto tallied a 16-6 record with a 1.21 ERA and a 6-to-1 strikeout ratio. Despite his relatively small 5-foot-10 stature, he relies on a six-pitch arsenal that includes a splitter and curveball.
Several teams vied for Yamamoto’s signature, with the Dodgers outbidding the New York Yankees among others. The Mets also showed interest, but ultimately, the Dodgers won out. This signing comes shortly after the Dodgers also secured a 10-year, $700 million deal with Shohei Ohtani, further solidifying their investment in Japanese talent.
With Yamamoto joining their pitching staff, the Dodgers’ odds to win the World Series improved to +400, making them one of the top favorites. They’re also the favorites to win the National League pennant and their division, the NL West, according to the latest odds.