Yoshinobu Yamamoto Preferred Signing With Dodgers & Being Shohei Ohtani’s Teammate

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the midst of a historic offseason, signing two of the highest-regarded free agents of all-time in Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

To get them both under contract, the Dodgers committed more than $1 billion over the next 12 years, with Ohtani signing for 10-years, $700 million while Yamamoto agreed to a deal for 12-years and $325 million with the cost of a posting fee totaling an additional $50.6 million as well.

They faced heavy competition from opposing teams for both players with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants offering the same terms to Ohtani that he received from the Dodgers. However, Ohtani made the decision to ultimately join the Dodgers because of their position to win both now and in the future.

As for Yamamoto, the New York Yankees offered him the highest average annual value, along with more money up front and a quicker opt-out clause than the Dodgers presented. The New York Mets made the same financial offer as the Dodgers.

However, the Dodgers were still able to land the prized pitcher because of his desire to play for L.A. and once again join Ohtani, according to J.P. Morosi of MLB Network:

“I was told by a source who knows the Japanese baseball scene very well, Yamamoto simply wanted to be a Dodger and play with Ohtani, in no particular order.”

Yamamoto grew up a Dodgers fan, so it’s no surprise he would want to pitch for his childhood team. He also gets the added benefit of being the ace of a perennial World Series contender with a bright outlook moving forward while the Mets and Yankees are both coming off down seasons with less certainty in their futures.

In their negotiations, the Mets reportedly tried to use playing alongside Ohtani as a negative for Yamamoto.

Ohtani was part of the meeting the Dodgers held with Yamamoto at Dodger Stadium, and it was reported the two-way star made a major impact.

Yamamoto and Ohtani were teammates on Team Japan during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, where they tasted victory as they defeated the United States to win the gold medal. The two also developed a good relationship while playing in the international tournament, and now they team up again in L.A. looking to win another championship together.

Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto contracts with Dodgers

Both players received unique contracts from the Dodgers that broke records, but took different paths to get there.

Ohtani had $680 million of his salary deferred, bringing the current value of the deal down to an estimated $460 million due to inflation. That allowed the Dodgers to pay him just $2 million per season for the life of his contract and brought his competitive balance tax salary down to roughly $46 million, thus allowing the team to continue spending.

Despite the deferrals, the $700 million is the largest figure guaranteed in professional sports history.

Yamamoto’s deal was more straight forward with no money deferred, but a 12-year contract is the longest given to a pitcher in MLB history. Yamamoto’s $325 million also set the record for the largest guarantee to a pitcher ever, surpassing Gerrit Cole’s total by $1 million.

Yamamoto also received two opt-outs in the deal, one after his sixth season and another after the eighth, and a contract that’s back loaded, which benefits the Dodgers as well.

Make sure to follow Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!