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Report: Dodgers agree to 12-year deal with Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Los Angeles Dodgers prolific offseason continues, as the team has reportedly inked Japanese starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year contract, further bolstering an already star-studded roster. 

The deal, which has been reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, is worth an astounding $325 million, the highest amount ever given to a pitcher. 

Yamamoto, 25, has spent the previous seven seasons pitching for the Nippon Professional Baseball League's Orix Buffaloes, with whom he won a Japanese Series title in 2022, three straight Pacific League MVP Awards and Eiji Sawamura Awards (the Japanese equivalent of a Cy Young Award) and three NPBL triple crown titles, amongst dozens of other accolades.

In those seven seasons, Yamamoto had a 70-29 record with a dazzling 1.82 ERA and 922 strikeouts over 829 and one-third innings. 

He's known for his unique delivery and ability to hit triple digits with his fastball, which is nicely complemented by an array of off-speed pitches that include a curveball and splitter. 

2023 World Baseball Classic: Championship Team USA v. Team Japan
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 21: Shohei Ohtani #16 and Yoshinobu Yamamoto #18 of Team Japan celebrate after winning the 2023 World Baseball Classic Championship game over Team USA at loanDepot Park on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

He will join fellow Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, whom the Dodgers previously signed to a record-setting 10-year, $700 million deal earlier this month. The two tore through the World Baseball Classic together, leading Japan to the tournament title. 

Unlike Ohtani's deal, which has an astounding amount of money deferred until the end of the actual contract, Rosenthal reports that Yamamoto's deal has no deferrals and comes with a $50 million signing bonus. Passan says that the deal has two opt-outs. 

The Dodgers also added another stellar arm to their rotation last week, trading for Los Angeles native Tyler Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Yamamoto was posted to the MLB by the Buffaloes on Nov. 20. Posting is a transfer system between Major League Baseball and the NPBL, allowing teams the opportunity to try and sign players from the opposing league for a fee.

In this instance, the Dodgers will have to pay Orix $50.6 million, Passan reported.

Several big league teams have been tied to the pitcher over recent weeks, most notably the New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. However, Yamamoto figures to join the already bright lights of Los Angeles, who were perennial World Series favorites prior to their billion dollar spending spree ahead of the 2024 season. 

The deal has not yet been made official by MLB or the Dodgers. 

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