Yamamoto to Dodgers on 12-year deal (source)

December 22nd, 2023

Japanese phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto is coming to the Majors via the posting system. MLB.com is keeping track of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-handed pitcher.

Dec. 21: Yamamoto reportedly agrees to 12-year deal with Dodgers
Prized Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto has agreed to a 12-year, $325 million deal with the Dodgers, sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The club has not confirmed the move. More >

Dec. 21: Giants out of Yamamoto sweepstakes (report)
With Yamamoto's free agency possibly winding down and a decision potentially on the horizon, NBC Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reports that the Giants are no longer in the running. Pavlovic adds that the favorites for Yamamoto appear to be the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees.

Yamamoto would be the latest in what is becoming a lengthy list of free agents the Giants have been unable to sign despite substantial efforts over the past couple of offseasons. Though San Francisco signed Korean center fielder Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract earlier this month, the club was unable to land Shohei Ohtani after striking out on Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa last year.

Dec. 21: Yamamoto decision within 48 hours?
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that according to multiple sources, Yamamoto will "likely" make his decision on where to sign within the next 48 hours.

Various reports have indicated that the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees are the favorites in the quest to sign the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander, and that the Mets and Yankees have submitted substantial offers. Other teams still believed to be in the mix are the Blue Jays, Phillies and Red Sox -- Philadelphia has also reportedly made an offer.

MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi has reported that Yamamoto has received at least one offer of $300 million or more.

Dec. 21: Phillies, Mets and Yankees have made offers to Yamamoto; Dodgers preparing bid (reports)
It sounds like the Yamamoto sweepstakes is reaching a critical stage: presenting your best offer to the coveted free agent.

The Phillies have put in their bid to the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander, according to a report by The Athletic's Matt Gelb. The Mets have also made "a very substantial offer" for Yamamoto, per SNY's Andy Martino. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees have made "a significant bid" for Yamamoto.

MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi reports that Yamamoto has "at least one contract offer of $300 million or more." The Dodgers are believed to be considering a bid of $250 million to $300 million, a source told the Los Angeles Times' Jack Harris.

The right-hander reportedly requested second meetings with the Mets and Yankees, which were held last weekend. Those clubs and the Dodgers are seen as the top contenders for Yamamoto, but the Phils, Red Sox and Blue Jays are reportedly in the mix as well.

According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, it is believed that Yamamoto will make his decision within the next 48 hours.

Dec. 18: Yamamoto suitors expected to start proposing contract terms (reports)
The bidding for Yamamoto is about to heat up, with ESPN’s Jeff Passan hearing that teams were expected to begin proposing contract terms as early as Monday. MLB Network insider Joel Sherman reported something similar in an article for the New York Post on Sunday, writing that the "actual bidding process is supposed to intensify this week."

A report surfaced Sunday that the Red Sox and Giants each had already made offers to Yamamoto for more than $300 million, but Passan heard that was inaccurate. Multiple high-ranking officials involved in the Yamamoto sweepstakes told ESPN that teams were asked to give preliminary bids at the start of the process to show that they were serious. However, Yamamoto’s agent, Joel Wolfe, has not solicited a new round of bids since then, despite having some teams that were recently interested in talking dollars.

It's possible Boston and San Francisco plan to extend those giant offers once the bidding officially opens back up. The Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies and Blue Jays are also heavily involved in the Yamamoto market along with the Red Sox and Giants.

The Mets, who reportedly had a second meeting with Yamamoto on Saturday, were planning to enter their bid for Yamamoto early in the week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Per Puma, the Mets expect that Yamamoto will make his decision by Christmas.

Dec. 18: Mets, Yanks get second chance to woo Yamamoto (reports)
MLB Network insider Joel Sherman wrote in the New York Post on Sunday that the bidding for Yamamoto is "supposed to intensify" this coming week.

Sherman reports that Yamamoto held his second meeting with the Mets' brass on Saturday, and Yamamoto requested the meeting himself, per SNY's Andy Martino. The 25-year-old Japanese ace had dinner at Mets owner Steve Cohen's home in Connecticut. Besides Cohen, president of baseball operations David Stearns, manager Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner were among those also in attendance. Earlier this month, Cohen and Stearns flew to Japan to meet with Yamamoto and his family.

But the Mets weren't the only team to meet with Yamamoto this weekend. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Yamamoto also requested a second meeting with the Yankees, which took place on Sunday evening. The first meeting between Yamamoto and the Bronx Bombers' top executives was Monday in Los Angeles, according to multiple reports.

On Sunday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale wrote that the Yankees "continue to be the favorite" to sign Yamamoto. Heyman recently labeled the Yankees and Dodgers as "co-favorites" to sign him.

Multiple teams have used their existing star power to try to woo Yamamoto -- Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith reportedly attended the Dodgers' meeting with the ace pitcher, while the Phillies' recruiting pitch included a FaceTime conversation with Bryce Harper, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi.

There are other clubs involved in the Yamamoto sweepstakes as well, including the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Giants.

Yamamoto has until 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4 to sign with an MLB club, but a deal is expected to be finalized before Jan. 1, according to Sherman.

Dec. 14: Dodgers, Yankees seen as co-favorites for Yamamoto
There are at least seven teams in the running to sign Yamamoto, as presented by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Thursday: The Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Phillies. The Japanese ace has had meetings with the first four teams on that list and is expected to meet with the remaining clubs soon -- Heyman later reported that Yamamoto would be meeting with the Phils on Thursday. Although each team has an opportunity to make its best pitch to Yamamoto, Heyman considers the Dodgers and the Yanks as the "co-favorites" in the sweepstakes.

Yamamoto's window to negotiate with MLB clubs closes at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4, but he is expected to come to a decision before then. Heyman said on Wednesday that he believes the 25-year-old right-hander could land the longest contract for a pitcher. That record belongs to Wayne Garland, who signed a 10-year deal with Cleveland in 1976. More recently, Gerrit Cole and the Yankees agreed on a nine-year pact in 2019. However, Heyman doesn't rule out the possibility that Yamamoto could receive a 12-year offer.

Dec. 14: With reported Glasnow deal, is Yamamoto next?
The Dodgers and Rays have agreed to a trade that would send right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot to Los Angeles in exchange for right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca, sources told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The clubs have not confirmed the deal.

The Dodgers already made the biggest move of the offseason when they signed Shohei Ohtani to a 10-year contract, but with Ohtani recovering from elbow surgery and not expected to pitch until 2025, Los Angeles still needed to add rotation help for next season.

Glasnow certainly fits the bill. But are the Dodgers just getting started when it comes to fortifying their pitching staff?

Los Angeles has also been involved in the free-agent market for Yamamoto, and Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci reported Tuesday that the club is eyeing top free-agent closer Josh Hader as well.

A report by USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale on Wednesday suggested that the club plans on going "all in" on signing Yamamoto even after trading for Glasnow.

If the Dodgers add Glasnow and Yamamoto, they would have the makings of a "super" rotation. Glasnow, who has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball when healthy, and Yamamoto, one of the greatest pitchers in Japanese baseball history, would join Walker Buehler and -- potentially in 2025 -- Ohtani.

Dec. 13: Ohtani trying to woo Yamamoto to Dodgers (report)
Shohei Ohtani has been a Los Angeles Dodger for just a few days, but he is already doing what he can to help the club build a World Series winner.

Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith were in attendance during the Dodgers' meeting with Yamamoto at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, according to The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya (subscription required). Ohtani and Yamamoto were teammates during this year's World Baseball Classic and helped Team Japan win the gold medal. 

"The pitch to Yamamoto was, on its face, straightforward," Ardaya wrote. "As the free agent entered the ballpark, video displays depicting his name and likeness in a Dodgers uniform flashed on the scoreboard."

Yamamoto's meeting with the Dodgers followed his recent visits with the Mets, Yankees and Giants. Per MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Phillies and other teams are also vying for the 25-year-old right-hander, who is viewed as the best starting pitcher on the market.

Dec. 12: What is Yamamoto’s timeline to pick a team?
Yamamoto has until Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. ET to sign with an MLB team. But with the 25-year-old righty receiving serious interest from big-market clubs across the Majors, he’s not expected to take that long to make his decision.

According to The Athletic's (subscription required) Will Sammon and Chris Kirschner, several people in the industry expect Yamamoto to pick a team “within the next two weeks or so.”

Yamamoto already met with a Mets contingent led by owner Steve Cohen in Japan. He had a meeting with the Giants on Sunday, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, and he was scheduled to meet with the Yankees in Los Angeles on Monday.

More visits are sure to follow, with MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reporting that the Dodgers are also seen as “big players” even after landing Shohei Ohtani for $700 million over 10 years. The Dodgers were reportedly scheduled to meet with Yamamoto on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The Cubs are likely to make a big play for Yamamoto after missing out on Ohtani. The Red Sox, another known suitor for Yamamoto, were said to be “prioritizing” the Japanese ace during the Winter Meetings.

A source has told Feinsand that Boston will meet with Yamamoto in the coming days. Two or three more teams -- including the Blue Jays -- will also likely meet with him, sources told Feinsand.

Dec. 10: Yamamoto market set to heat up with Ohtani off the board
The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes have reached their conclusion, with the two-way superstar agreeing to a record 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers.

Some have speculated that the price for Yamamoto could get close to $300 million, but might he end up with the Dodgers, too? MLB Network insider Jon Heyman said Saturday that it's possible. It wouldn't be the first time that Ohtani and Yamamoto have been teammates; both were members of the triumphant Team Japan in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Yamamoto, widely regarded as the best remaining free agent on the board, has many big-market teams going hard after him. Yamamoto already met with the Mets in Japan and is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Yankees in Southern California on Monday, kicking off what is expected to be a multi-team tour in the United States.

While the Dodgers, Mets and Yanks are strong contenders to land the 25-year-old ace, those clubs could see increased competition from some of the Ohtani suitors who missed out on signing one of the biggest free agents in baseball history, namely the Cubs and the Giants.

The Red Sox are also in on Yamamoto, with MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi reporting during the Winter Meetings that Boston was making the right-hander one of its top priorities.

Dec. 8: Mets might now be favorites for Yamamoto
In the New York vs. New York race to sign Yamamoto, the Mets look like they've pulled even with the Yankees -- maybe even ahead.

MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi reported Friday afternoon: "The Mets certainly are one of the favorites, if not the favorites right now, to land Yoshinobu Yamamoto."

This comes on the heels of a report from SNY's Andy Martino that the Mets' trip to Japan to meet with Yamamoto "seemed to have helped level the playing field," despite the Yankees having previously been considered the favorites to land the ace right-hander. 

Mets owner Steve Cohen and president of baseball operations David Stearns reportedly met with Yamamoto, his mother and Mets right-hander Kodai Senga's translator, Hiro Fujiwara, with the goal of helping Yamamoto get to know the team and show how serious the Mets are about bringing him to Queens.

According to Martino, "It appears to have been a success." The Mets, he writes, seem "better-positioned than they had been before."

The Yankees are set to meet with Yamamoto in the U.S. on Monday, per Morosi.

Dec. 7: Is it Yanks vs. Mets for Yamamoto?
Now that the Yankees have upgraded their offense with the acquisition of Juan Soto, their focus will turn to addressing their starting rotation. They have one pitcher in their sights: Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Yankees will meet with the Japanese ace on Monday, a source told MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi. The Mets, another top contender for Yamamoto, have already had an in-person meeting with the 25-year-old right-hander. A source told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo that Mets owner Steve Cohen and president of baseball operations David Stearns flew to Japan last week to meet with the prized free agent.

There are multiple other clubs reportedly in the running for Yamamoto, but as one source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, this may be a New York-New York battle for the top full-time starter on the market.

“This is going to come down to the Mets and Yankees,” the source said. “They both think they need him badly -- and they do. Get your popcorn ready. This could be fun."

Per Morosi, the Dodgers, Red Sox, Cubs and Giants are the other teams viewed as “top candidates” to sign Yamamoto. The Athletic's Will Sammon reported Wednesday (subscription required) that seven teams have emerged as "serious" suitors for Yamamoto -- the Mets, Yankees, Giants, Dodgers, Blue Jays and two unidentified clubs.

Dec. 6: After meeting with Mets owner in Japan, Yamamoto to meet with Yanks in United States (sources)
The courtship for Yamamoto is spanning the globe.

According to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, Yamamoto is expected to travel to the United States to meet with the Yankees on Monday. Meanwhile, a source told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo that Mets owner Steve Cohen flew to Japan last week to meet with the prized free-agent righty, confirming a report from The Athletic's Will Sammon. Mike Puma of the New York Post hears that Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns accompanied Cohen to make their recruiting pitch to Yamamoto.

The New York rivals are expected to be two of the top bidders for Yamamoto, a 25-year-old right-hander some think will command a deal close to $300 million.

Dec. 5: Could Yamamoto land $300 million deal?
As the offseason goes on, the market for Yamamoto has only gotten more competitive. According to The Athletic's Jim Bowden, the 25-year-old ace is "the most sought after free agent on the market based on interested teams" -- quite the feat in a free agency period headlined by Shohei Ohtani.

The competition for Yamamoto can only be good news for the right-hander in terms of his impending contract. While MLB Trade Rumors projected Yamamoto to receive a nine-year, $225 million deal at the start of the offseason, that number only seems to have gone up. According to Bowden, Yamamoto could receive close to $300 million on the open market -- a figure echoed by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman on Tuesday in the New York Post. Heyman mentioned a long list of teams connected to the right-hander: the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Tigers.

Only six players have ever received $300 million or more on the open market, with Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324 million) the only pitcher to do so. For Yamamoto, a star in Nippon Professional Baseball and one of the youngest free agents on the market, landing a $300 million contract this offseason appears possible. Teams still have roughly a month to sign him, as Yamamoto's posting window closes at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 4.