Yoshinobu Yamamoto Contract Details: Opt-Out Clauses Based On Potential Elbow Injuries

What had already been a wildly successful offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers grew to include signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year, $365 million contract that was made official last week.

Yamamoto’s contract is the richest in MLB history, as it bested Gerrit Cole’s $324 million pact with the New York Yankees that covers nine seasons from 2020-2028. The Yankees were among the teams that pursued Yamamoto, but reportedly topped out at $300 million in their offer due to Cole’s contract previously serving as a benchmark.

As the Dodgers finalized their signing of Yamamoto, his contract was reported as having two opt-out clauses. The first was said to be after six seasons, and the second for 2031.

However, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, Yamamoto’s opt-out clauses in his Dodgers contract can be delayed to the eighth and 10th seasons, respectively:

If Yamamoto has Tommy John surgery or is on the injured list for a right elbow injury for 134 consecutive service days from 2024-29, he would have the right to opt out after the 2031 and 2033 World Series, according to terms of the deal obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

If he avoids Tommy John surgery and doesn’t miss that much time with an elbow issue during that window, he can instead opt out after the 2029 and 2031 World Series.

By all accounts the 25-year-old is plenty healthy and starts his MLB career on the back of winning three consecutive Eiji Sawamuras (Nippon Professional Baseball’s version of Cy Young) in addition to three Pacific League MVP Awards in a row.

Some expressed concern over Yamamoto’s durability moving forward due to his stature, but others are convinced the right-hander will flourish in the Majors as an ace-caliber pitcher.

Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes did not rule out the team potentially relying on a six-man starting rotation as a means of better helping Yamamoto adjust.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s training includes javelin

Part of remaining healthy while pitching over in Japan entailed Yamamoto incorporating a javelin into his training program, and that is going to remain the case with the Dodgers.

“You can do it right here on the field,” noted Yamamoto’s agent, Joel Wolfe. “One of the teams actually that had done a lot of research on him, one of the gifts they gave him was a team-logoed javelin for him to throw to show him just how deep into the research they had done, which he was very impressed with.

“But you will see what he does. It’s impressive, and it worked. And a lot of the work that he does is injury prevention-type stuff. So I think that gave the Dodgers a lot of comfort in giving them such a lengthy contract.”

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