MLB Free Agency Rumors: Dodgers Believe They Can Sign Shohei Ohtani And Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Heading into the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville, the Los Angeles Dodgers were poised to be among the most aggressive teams as they have multiple roster needs.

Aaron Nola re-signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, and Sonny Gray joining the St. Louis Cardinals represented the market heating up for top tier free agents. Yet there has been little progress with Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto remain available, both of whom are Dodgers free agent targets.

Ohtani has been the talk of MLB for some time, with only a handful of teams still under consideration, the Dodgers’ odds to sign Ohtani are somewhat encouraging. Meanwhile, Yamamoto is a special case because of his age, and because he’s shown remarkable development and talent at just 25 years old.

In addition to his abilities, Yamamoto has also been rumored to be a fan of the Dodgers, which could increase their standing in his free agency tour.

Signing Ohtani and Yamamoto would represent a significant financial commitment, and the Dodgers are alone in looking add both players, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network:

“The Dodgers love Yamamoto. They are the one team really thinking, ‘Maybe we can sign both Yamamoto and Ohtani.’”

The Dodgers have a difficult battle with how many teams around the league need starting pitching, which has seemingly driven the price up on Yamamoto. Blake Snell is the other frontline starter still available in free agency, while Shōta Imanaga and others are more complementary pitchers.

Similar to Yamamoto, whose signing window is open through January 4, 2024, teams have until January 11 to sign Imanaga.

Can the Dodgers sign Ohtani and Yamamoto?

With how the Dodgers have allocated their overall spending prior to arbitration, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman currently has Chris Taylor as the team’s third-highest paid player at a $13 million base salary for 2024.

The Dodgers have about $66.7 million of room before reaching the competitive balance tax threshold (CBT), which aligns them to be among baseball’s largest payrolls if they choose to spend as much as the front office has alluded to.

If the Dodgers do decide to exceed the CBT, it’ll be their fourth consecutive year doing so, which would keep them a repeat offender payor and result in significant penalties.

But as one of the most successful and most profitable organizations in Major League Baseball, the Dodgers can absolutely take the risk on signing both Ohtani and Yamamoto. The star power, coupled with talent level, has the capability to push them back into a postseason spotlight they haven’t capitalized on of late.

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