Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Believes Shohei Ohtani Is Key With Supporting Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Move To MLB

The Los Angeles Dodgers have high expectations not just for themselves, but also Yoshinobu Yamamoto after making him the highest paid pitcher in MLB history.

Detractors of the Dodgers’ decision to sign Yamamoto to the deal argue that giving out such a massive contract to someone who has yet to pitch at the Major League level could blow up in their face. But the Dodgers are confident it will work out.

Similar things were said about Shohei Ohtani when he originally made his move over to the United States from Japan in 2018.

The circumstances around Ohtani’s arrival were different as he originally signed with the Angels for just a $2.3 million signing bonus. However, there were those who doubted that he could replicate his two-way play style in the Majors.

While there have certainly been Japanese players who have had very successful MLB careers, none have had the amount of hype and expectations placed upon their arrivals like Ohtani and Yamamoto. Ohtani had his struggles and hardships early on, but he firmly established himself as a household name in MLB.

Most impressively, he adjusted to his new environment all on his own, and now he’s able to help out Yamamoto make the adjustment, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

“I think Shohei coming here six years ago [with the Angels] and not having a fellow countryman to help support him was different and difficult at times,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But for Yoshinobu to come here and have a [WBC] teammate, a fellow countryman, kind of show him the ropes and support him … has been great.”

The path laid out in front of Yamamoto will be a difficult one that may or may not contain some bumps in the road, but he has Ohtani to lean on while he establishes himself.

Not only has Ohtani been one of MLB’s best for years now, but he is someone Yamamoto can relate to in the sense of their shared cultural background and perspective while he navigates the culture shock of moving to a new country.

While the Dodgers expect Yamamoto to be their ace, they also have two other exciting and talented arms in Tyler Glasnow and Bobby Miller to shoulder some of those expectations and pitch at the front of their rotation.

Dodgers could be more dangerous on the base paths this season

Stealing bases have never been a huge part of the Dodgers’ game in the modern era, and it was a reflection of the modern MLB landscape as a whole.

However, last season MLB changed the equation and brought base stealing back from the grave through the introduction of bigger bases and new pickoff rules surrounding the pitch clock.

Ohtani is an elite athlete with great speed who stole 20 bases last season with the Los Angeles Angels. With that ability, he has had conversations with Freddie Freeman, who hits right behind him, about being more aggressive on the basepaths.

The Dodgers’ run scoring ability could be a lot more potent this season if Ohtani is able to get himself into scoring position after a single or walk with Freeman at the plate.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!