Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
After signing Shohei Ohtani and reaching an agreement to acquire Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers have seemingly shifted their focus to Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
The 25-year-old is the top starting pitcher in free agency and has drawn widespread interest. He recently began the process of meeting teams and could possibly make his decision before Christmas Day.
The Dodgers reportedly hosted Yamamoto at Dodger Stadium this past week, which included Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Ohtani on hand to help the recruitment.
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez and Jeff Passan, Bobby Miller was also part of the Dodgers’ free agency pitch to Yamamoto:
In perhaps his first official duty as a Dodger, Ohtani joined Freeman, starting pitcher Bobby Miller and catcher Will Smith in a recruiting meeting with Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Ohtani’s Samurai Japan teammate and the second-best free agent in this year’s class.
Yamamoto followed Miller on Instagram after the meeting, and he also follows Betts, Ohtani and Ippe Mizuhara, Ohtani’s interpreter,
Miller being asked to attend the meeting with some of the Dodgers’ star players further indicates the team has big plans for him in the future. The right-hander went 11-4 with a 3.76 ERA, 3.51 FIP and 1.10 WHIP in 124.1 innings pitched across 22 starts during his rookie season this year.
Miller is currently projected to be part of the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation in 2024 that also figures to include Glasnow with Walker Buehler, Emmet Sheehan, Ryan Yarbrough and Michael Grove as other potential options.
The Dodgers still need to add at least one starter to that group, and possibly even two with Buehler a possibility to miss the start of the season to limit his innings. However, additional acquisitions, potential injuries and Spring Training performance will ultimately determine who breaks camp with the team.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto intrigued by Dodgers’ history
Along with growing up a Dodgers fan, Yamamoto is said to be intrigued by the organization’s rich history, which could give L.A. an advantage over other interested teams.
While original projections had Yamamoto signing for an estimated $200 million, he is now expected to receive closer to $300 million. His window to sign with a team officially closes at 2 p.m. PT on January 4, 2024.
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