Dodgers Team News

The Dodgers Could Have More Money for Roki Sasaki Than Any MLB Team

The Dodgers didn’t merely soup up their roster after committing more than $1.3 billion to free agents last offseason. They reimagined the parameters for building an MLB juggernaut by getting multiple star players to commit to deferred salaries, alleviating the short-term budget constraints that have held back teams from acquiring superteams in the past.

Furthermore, the front office pushed its chips in on cornering the international market. The signings of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto gave the Dodgers a potential pipeline to future talent from Japan.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is among those who have personally scouted Japanese star pitcher Roki Sasaki. If he is freed to sign with an MLB club next winter, reports indicate the interest is mutual from the star. And if the Dodgers do pursue Sasaki next offseason, they can offer him more money than any other team in baseball.

If Sasaki jumps to Major League Baseball next winter, he wouldn’t be able to earn anything near what Yamamoto received from Los Angeles. Sasaki wouldn’t have the requisite amount of experience playing professionally in Japan, so he would be labeled as an amateur by MLB.

Ohtani was subject to this same restriction when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, costing the Halos less than $3 million.

Each MLB team begins with the same allotment of money to spend on international amateurs, which can fluctuate depending on several factors defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams may also acquire or trade away international signing money via trades.

The Dodgers acquired some international bonus pool money in a deal with the Chicago White Sox in exchange for two minor leaguers.

Signing Sasaki would give the Dodgers another star pitcher to join their stout rotation. He holds a career ERA of 1.90 with 395 strikeouts over 303.2 innings of work with the Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League. 

Assuming that Sasaki does come to the big leagues next season, the Dodgers would be the heavy favorites to sign him. Los Angeles is intent on competing for championships every season, and adding Sasaki would be another step toward that.

Photo Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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Matt Levine

Matt earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Louisiana State University in 2021. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, growing up a huge fan of the Dodgers and Lakers. Matt Kemp was his favorite Dodgers player growing up.

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