Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Rumors: LA Among Top Landing Spots for Japanese Star Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Dodgers have been connected with international players throughout their history as a team.

Fernando Valenzuela, Hideo Nomo, Kenta Maeda, Hyun Jin-Ryu, and more are among the many international players to thrive in Los Angeles.



Another name tossed around with the Dodgers organization is Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Nippon Professional Baseball star. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand linked him to LA as a potential landing spot if he’s posted this offseason.

Yamamoto is expected to be posted by the Orix Buffaloes this offseason, adding another intriguing arm to the free-agent market. The 25-year-old has won both Pacific League MVP honors and the Sawamura Award (Japan’s version of the Cy Young) in each of the past two years, and scouts believe he can immediately jump into the No. 1 or 2 spot in a big league rotation the way Masahiro Tanaka did with the Yankees nearly a decade ago. If/when he is posted, Yamamoto will likely jump into the Top 5 — possibly the Top 3 — of these rankings.

(via Mark Feinsand, MLB.com)

The Dodgers have already signed an international pitcher when they added Hyun-Suk Jang. Jang is 19 years old and was expected to be the top pick in the KBO Draft this year but instead chose to sign for an MLB team wanting to play in America.

Many more players have been coming from the NPB recently, includingboth Kodai Senga and Masataka Yoshida who signed with MLB teams last offseason and have been top players for both of their respective teams, the Mets and the Red Sox.

Both teams are also potential fits for Yamamoto.

While both former NPB players signed five-year contracts for an average of $82.5 million total, Yamamoto’s contract should be much larger for many reasons.

Senga and Yoshida are both 30 years of age while Yamamoto just turned 25. All three players were heavily awarded during their time in the NPB with Senga winning the pitching Triple Crown in 2020 and Yoshida winning the Pacific League batting title in 2020 and 2021.

Yamamoto, on the other hand, has won the Pacific League MVP in back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022 alongside the Sawamura Award (the NPB’s CY Young Award) and the Triple Crown.

In the last three years of Yamamoto’s career in the NPB, he has pitched to the tune of a 1.42 ERA over 536.2 innings. If that sounds insane, it’s because it is.

Yamamoto is younger and better than Senga was coming out of the NPB and can easily become any MLB team’s No. 1 guy on Opening Day.

If the young pitcher is posted by the Orix Buffaloes this offseason, he may be able to command a lengthy contract over $150 million dollars or more, and if the Dodgers want to add this amazing piece to their roster, they will need to be ready to open the checkbooks.

Photo Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

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Jacob Zinder

Jacob Zinder is a digital sports journalist that recently graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Growing up in California, Jacob has been a fan of the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Dodgers for his entire life.

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