Yoshinobu Yamamoto Rumors: Meeting With Dodgers At Dodger Stadium

After signing Shohei Ohtani to a record-breaking contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers have now turned their attention to addressing their starting rotation, where Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the top available option.

As part of the posting process of coming from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) to MLB, Yamamoto has a 45-day window to sign, which ends at 2 p.m. on January 4, 2024. He began his free agency process by meeting with teams on Zoom, but he recently began meeting with the finalists in person.

Yamamoto is believed to have met with the New York Yankees, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, with the expectation he will also meet with the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

As for the Dodgers, they met with Yamamoto on Tuesday, according to Russell Dorsey of Bally Sports:

The meeting is believed to have been held at Dodger Stadium, which may be a slight benefit to the Dodgers as other clubs traveled to L.A., which is where his agency resides.

Although there is a long process to go, the Dodgers are among the favorites to sign Yamamoto even after signing Ohtani, who deferred money in his contract to allow the club to keep spending.

Yamamoto is expected to sign a contract worth around $300 million, so between the two stars, the Dodgers would be committing roughly $1 billion this offseason to two players if they sign the right-hander.

Despite that, the Dodgers have an internal belief they can add both players to their organization as starting pitching remains their biggest need, and regardless of the route they go, they will need to invest significant resources to improve their staff.

Yamamoto is widely considered the best pitcher to ever come over from Japan, and being just 25 years old makes him even more enticing to teams.

He went 17-6 with a 1.21 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 176 strikeouts in 24 starts for the Buffaloes this year, which earned him a third consecutive Eiji Sawamura Award — the Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) equivalent of MLB’s Cy Young — and ended his career in Japan by winning three MVP Awards in a row.

Options if the Dodgers miss out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto

If the Dodgers don’t sign Yamamoto, there are still avenues to upgrade their pitching staff. Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain on the free agent market, as do second-tier options including Lucas Giolito.

They could also turn to their trade market, where Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease, Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow are believed to be available. It would also not be surprising to see the Dodgers sign one pitcher and trade for one as they search for two starters.

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