Giants Remained ‘In The Mix’ For Yoshinobu Yamamoto Before Signing With Dodgers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their starting rotation by signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million contract, which was made official on Wednesday.

Yamamoto was the Dodgers’ third splash of the offseason to further separate themselves from the National League West in talent disparity, but it wasn’t an easy path to add the ace.

The Dodgers faced competition from the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, and NL West rival, San Francisco Giants, in their pursuit of signing Yamamoto.

The Giants and current president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have been active in the past two seasons in their pursuit of superstar players, but have been unable to land that big name. They were reportedly aggressive in their interest in Yamamoto, prior to him signing with the Dodgers.

Zaidi and the Giants missed out on adding another big right-handed arm to their rotation, but it wasn’t for their lack of effort, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Giants were right in the mix until the very end, however, according to one source with direct knowledge of the negotiations. “The Giants couldn’t have done a better job,” the source said.

The Giants had also been in the bidding for Shohei Ohtani, and reportedly accepted the proposed contract offer that the two-way star presented to all interested teams. Because of the Dodgers’ need for starting pitching, they may have blocked Yamamoto from going to their division rival:

Had the Dodgers not entered the fray for Yamamoto after locking up Ohtani to a $700 million deal, the Giants would have been the West Coast finalists for Yamamoto, the source said.

“They were there every step of the way financially,” the source said.

Having been deep in their discussions with numerous superstars, the Giants haven’t shied away from wanting to add a mega-contract. Several factors can impact free agency, and their efforts were well-done, but just not enough to beat out the Dodgers to land Yamamoto:

“There is nothing else he could have done or the Giants could have done,” the source said. “At the end of the day, it was a really tough choice and some of it had to do with Ohtani and just a slight preference for L.A.”

Yamamoto would have been a huge addition to the Giants’ rotation, and because he is just 25 years old, represented a mainstay while the rest of their roster fills out.

However, the Giants remain in the hunt for other big name players. They recently signed Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract that includes an opt-out after the 2027 season.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto ‘loved’ the Dodgers for years

Alongside the financial commitment from the Dodgers to Yamamoto, the pair had a bit of admiration for one another.

According to some reports, Yamamoto has displayed a fondness for the Dodgers organization in recent years. Ohtani also joining the team is another huge plus, which is likely to have made for a key selling point.

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