Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers officially welcomed Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the organization on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, announcing his 12-year contract worth $325 million.
Yamamoto’s contract is the richest by any starting pitcher in Major League Baseball history, and with the $50.6 million posting fee that’s headed to the Orix Buffaloes, the total investment by the Dodgers is roughly $375 million.
The substantial financial commitment coincides with the franchise’s desire to acquire the best talent while maintaining their goal of winning a World Series title. Yamamoto shared those same beliefs when answering why he chose the Dodgers in free agency.
“It was very important for me for a team that wants to win, and not only now but in the future as well,” Yamamoto said through interpreter Mako Allbee. “And I really felt that through this whole process, the Dodgers provided that opportunity to most.”
The Dodgers having the ability to sign Yamamoto was in large part due to Shohei Ohtani’s contract structure and how much deferred money was included. Pushing the vast majority of his deal to the future allowed the team to sign additional impact players, which played a role in the three-time Nippon Professional Baseball MVP joining the Dodgers.
“It was through my talks with the front office, it was really clear that they wanted to win, like we said earlier, but on top of that, the fact that Shohei was doing that, also signaled to me that it wasn’t just the front office, it was also the players that are bought into this winning atmosphere as well,” Yamamoto said. “So that really resonated with me.”
The Dodgers’ pursuit of Yamamoto dates back a good period of time, when they began scouting him with the Buffaloes. Their interest culminated with a series of meetings, with perhaps none more impactful than when Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Bobby Miller and Will Smith were part of the Dodgers’ pitch..
Yamamoto expressed a great deal of respect for how all-in the Dodgers were to making him feel Los Angeles was the best place for him, a sentiment which he echoed on Wednesday.
Yamamoto had meetings with several other teams as part of his process, talking with the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. However, the Dodgers were unique in having some of their key players on hand.
“It really felt the front office people were all committed in the same direction,” Yamamoto said. “But not only that, I’m sure you probably all saw it on social media as well, but the Dodgers brought out some of their key players out to meet with me and I was really able to feel that clubhouse atmosphere within the meeting, and that really resonated with me as well.”
Dodgers history was factor in Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s decision
Since 2013, the Dodgers have won 1,031 regular season games, the most of any franchise in MLB. Their sustained success is clear, and the current offseason has provided yet another indicator of their continued drive.
Yamamoto ended his NPB career with three consecutive Eiji Sawamura Awards, the equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young. His own desire to win carries over statestide, signing with the franchise that positions themselves with a great chance to win each year.
“Obviously, the Dodgers are a very historic franchise, but more than that, like we were saying earlier winning now and winning into the future was probably the most important thing in making this decision,” Yamamoto said.
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