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Dodgers sign RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto to 12-year deal

Aug 4, 2021; Yokohama, Japan; Team Japan pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (17) reacts against Korea in a baseball semifinal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced their 12-year contract with right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Wednesday.

The deal is worth a reported $325 million.

An introductory press conference will be held later Wednesday.

The acquisition of Yamamoto, 25, adds to the offseason haul for the defending National League West Division champs. Yamamoto, a three-time MVP of the Nippon Pacific League, joins former Los Angeles Angels star and two-time MLB MVP Shohei Ohtani.

In seven Nippon Professional Baseball League seasons pitching for the Orix Buffaloes, Yamamoto compiled a 70-29 record with one save and a 1.82 ERA in 172 games. He struck out 922 batters over 897 innings.

“I’d like to thank everyone in the Orix organization, the Dodger organization and all the people close to me who have given me so much support throughout this free-agent process,” Yamamoto said in a release. “I am truly excited to wear Dodger Blue and can’t wait to play in front of a packed Dodger Stadium.”

Yamamoto was excellent in 2023, producing a 16-6 record over 23 games, striking out 169 batters in 164 innings, and posting a 1.21 ERA. He led the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA.

The Dodgers, who fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series, are the current betting favorites to win the 2024 World Series.

“This is a great day for the Dodgers and Guggenheim Baseball Management. It is also a major milestone for baseball to have Yoshinobu Yamamoto come from Japan to the United States, bringing a level of talent and promise that has captured the imagination of baseball fans worldwide … ” Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. “We are thrilled he has chosen the Dodgers and honored to have him.”

Yamamoto also won the Japanese pitching triple crown (ERA, wins and strikeouts) in 2021 and 2022 and helped Japan to a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a 1.59 ERA and 18 strikeouts in two games. He teamed with Ohtani this year to bring Japan its third World Baseball Classic title.

Only three pitchers in Major League Baseball have won the pitching Triple Crown three times — Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Yamamoto also has won the Eiji Sawamura Award, which equals the Cy Young Award, three times.

–Field Level Media

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