Coveted Japanese right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto has agreed to a 12-year, $325-million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Times and other US media outlets reported Thursday.
The Times cited a person with knowledge of the deal but unauthorized to speak publicly and ESPN also cited unnamed sources in reporting the Dodgers had beat out a bevy of other suitors to land the 25-year-old star.
Earlier Thursday, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed he had presented Yamamoto with a No. 18 Yankees jersey as part of the club’s effort to lure him to the Bronx.
“It’s his if he wants to keep it,” Boone said.
Yamamoto also reportedly met with the San Francisco Giants, the Philadelphia and the Boston Red Sox.
But Yamamoto will apparently be joining superstar compatriot Shohei Ohtani in Los Angeles.
Ohtani, the two-way star who this season won a second American League Most Valuable Player Award by unanimous vote, departed the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent and inked a record-shattering 10-year, $700 million deal — the richest contract in the history of North American sport.
Yamamoto teamed with Ohtani in Japan’s victorious World Baseball Classic campaign and was named Japan’s Pacific League MVP for the third straight year in November.
That followed his third straight Sawamura Award as Japan’s top pitcher.
He won Nippon Professional Baseball’s pitching triple crown — leading the league in wins, earned run average and strikeouts — in each of the past three seasons.
Overall, he was 49-16 with a 1.44 ERA and 580 strikeouts in that span.
In what turned out to be his final NPB start, Yamamoto pitched a 14-strikeout complete game on 138 pitches to lead the Orix Buffaloes to victory in game six of the Japan Series.
The Buffaloes ultimately lost the series to the Hanshin Tigers, and they officially posted Yamamoto on November 20, making him eligible to sign with a Major League Baseball club.