Yoshinobu Yamamoto Signs: Yamamoto Joins the Dodgers! A look at Yamamoto’s Contract and Winners-Losers of the Yamamoto Sweepstakes.


The rich just get richer. Prized international free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has reportedly signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers

Yamamoto will join his countryman, starting pitcher/designated hitter/future G.O.A.T. Shohei Ohtani in Hollywood. Yamamoto’s deal is a whopping 12-year contract worth $325MM, making Yamamoto’s contract the richest for a pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball. Yamamoto’s contract eclipses Gerritt Cole’s contract by $1MM. Making it even more remarkable, the 25-year-old Japanese righty has never thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues.

Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes made out in the deal too. The Buffaloes are set to make a cool $50MM in a posting fee for losing Yamamoto to the Dodgers.

Yamamoto chose the Dodgers over the New York Mets, who reportedly made the same offer as Los Angeles. The Yankees’ offer was reported to be $300MM, while there’s no report on the Phillies’ offer to the righty. In the end, it appears to have come down to Yamamoto’s desire to play in Los Angeles. 

A Look at Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Contract

Yamamoto’s contract appears to be fairly clear cut unlike Ohtani’s massive contract that features $680MM worth of deferrals. While the $50MM signing bonus is interesting, the rest of the contract is a straightforward 12-year deal worth $325MM with slightly over $27MM in annual average value (AAV). Yamamoto’s contract does feature a pair of opt-outs after year five and year eight, potentially allowing the righty to test free agency again in the future.

Analysis: There was NO WAY the Dodgers were going to be able to have deferred payments in Yamamoto’s contract. The rest of the baseball world is still a tad bit upset over Ohtani’s $680MM worth of deferrals, there’d likely be complete anarchy if Yamamoto’s included any. As for the contract itself, it’s rather straightforward. The Dodgers are banking on a 25-year-old that has some electric stuff. If Yamamoto lives up to expectations this contract could look like a steal, hence why the opt-outs are smart.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Sweepstakes: Winners and Losers


  • Los Angeles Dodgers: LA has revamped their starting rotation with the addition of Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, creating a vicious one-two punch at the top of the rotation.
  • Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Shota Imanaga & the Remaining Free Agent Starting Pitchers: the market has now been set for the remaining starting pitchers in the 2023-24 MLB free agent class. While no one is going to get a Yamamoto-level contract, the floor has certainly been risen by waiting for the prized free agent to sign his massive contract.
  • Orix Buffaloes: Yes, the Buffaloes lost one of their biggest superstars, but they knew it was coming. In the end, Orix just became $50.6MM richer thanks to Yamamoto’s posting fee! Not too bad!
  • Nippon Professional Baseball: Ohtani, Yamamoto, and soon-to-be Imanaga. Fans are starting to pay more attention to the talent coming out of Japan.


  • New York Mets: It’s tough to finish second, but it’s even worse when it appears as though all things were equal. Yamamoto ended up in LA because he liked it more. That’s an indictment of the state of the New York Mets.
  • San Francisco Giants: While other clubs made offers and lost out on Yamamoto –lookin’ at you Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees– they weren’t publicly told they were “out of the sweepstakes.” The same thing happened to the Giants with Ohtani. Like the Mets, this says more about the current state of the Giants organization that they’ve been publicly rebuked twice this free agent season.
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