Freddie Freeman: ‘Really Cool’ Being Part Of Dodgers’ Free Agency Meeting With Yoshinobu Yamamoto

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The Los Angeles Dodgers’ historic offseason included the signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million contract, which is the largest deal for a pitcher in MLB history.

The right-hander drew widespread interest from teams and took several free-agency meetings before making his decision. That included a visit to Dodger Stadium in December, where Freddie Freeman was on hand to help the Dodgers recruit Yamamoto.

“It was really cool. He was working out, actually, because he was right in the middle of his throwing program,” Freeman said of the meeting. “I came out, talked to him a little bit on the field through an interpreter. He just has a very carefree spirit about him, wants to win, wants to work.

“It was just one of those things that the connection felt pretty good right off the bat, and hearing he was a Dodger fan too. I think we did a pretty good job, I thought. I was like, ‘Oh, I feel good about that,’ when we left. And obviously it came to fruition that he became a Dodger.

“Just a good experience, and I got to see Shohei for the first time after he signed that day too. Starting the building blocks to hopefully a really good, successful season.”

Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Bobby Miller were part of the Dodgers’ free agency pitch to Yamamoto as well.

It was reported that Ohtani’s involvement in the meeting made a positive impact as he and Yamamoto have a friendship as fellow countrymen and playing together on Team Japan.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto contract details

As part of Yamamoto’s record-setting contract with the Dodgers, he received a $50 million signing bonus that will reportedly be paid by July.

Yamamoto’s deal also has two opt-out clauses after the 2029 and 2031 seasons. However, those will be pushed back to 2031 and 2033, respectively, if the 25-year-old misses significant time due to a right elbow injury or undergoes Tommy John surgery at any point from 2024-2029.

Yamamoto’s contract does not include a no-trade clause, but he will have the ability opt out at the end of any season if he is moved to another team.

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