Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their wildly successful offseason with the signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $325 million contract.
It is the largest deal in MLB history for a pitcher in terms of years and total value, surpassing the nine-year, $324 million contract Gerrit Cole signed with the New York Yankees in 2019.
Yamamoto drew widespread interest from teams due to his young age and ace potential. He dominated opposing hitters in Japan with a four-pitch mix that includes a fastball, curveball, cutter and splitter.
Prior to Yamamoto signing with the Dodgers, Texas Rangers general manager Chris Young praised the right-hander and believes he will have a smooth transition to MLB, per Andrew Baggarly, Ken Rosenthal and Will Sammon of The Athletic:
“He’s really, really talented,” Texas Rangers GM Chris Young told The Athletic’s Jayson Stark. “I mean, it’s amazing. It’s a unique fastball profile, great command, competitiveness, and it’s explosive. And really, I think it bodes well to translate to Major League Baseball very, very well.”
Yamamoto’s fastball sits in the mid-90s but can touch 99 mph with excellent command. Scouts have raved about the right-hander’s clean mechanics and delivery, which they believe will help mitigate any injury risk due to his small frame.
For as impressive as his fastball is, some believe Yamamoto’s best pitch is his splitter.
The 25-year-old is coming off another stellar season for the Orix Buffaloes that saw him go 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 games. He finished his Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) career with a third consecutive Eiji Sawamura Award and Pacific League MVP.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto ‘beyond ecstatic’ to join Dodgers
Yamamoto is looking forward to playing with Ohtani and the rest of his new teammates as part of a new journey.
“Good afternoon,” Yamamoto began in English. “My name is Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the L.A. Dodgers. I am beyond ecstatic to become a member of this historic franchise and cannot express how much it means to me to be able to call Los Angeles my new home.”
Yamamoto also expressed his gratitude for the Dodgers and agent Joel Wolfe, and interested teams that fell short in the free agency sweepstakes.
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