Free agent pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto had until Jan. 4 to make a decision and officially agree to terms with a Major League Baseball club this offseason.

Yamamoto, a standout in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, slid into the 2023 free agency class as the second most desired addition by teams across the league — right behind Shohei Ohtani. Now, the two fellow countrymen will take the field side by side come 2024.

The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly signed Yamamoto on Thursday to a 12-year, $325 million contract, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Yamamoto’s deal surpasses Gerrit Cole’s with the New York Yankees — by $1 million — as the largest signed by any pitcher in MLB history.

Coming out on top in the multi-month-long sweepstakes for Yamamoto, the Dodgers beat out a handful of teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox to name a few.

Story continues below advertisement

Even before Yamamoto and before Ohtani, the Dodgers already had a stacked roster from top to bottom. But now, Los Angeles has constructed a fantasy sports-like dream team that’s positioned to soak up all the preseason hype heading into 2024.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Ohtani is fresh off winning the American League MVP in 2023 while Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman were both legitimate contenders in the National League. In Japan, Yamamoto was highly recognized as the next great ace set to make the jump over to MLB and join a Dodgers team that’s always in the mix for a World Series hunt.

Yamamoto, 25, went 16-6 with a stellar 1.21 ERA, striking out 169 batters across 164 innings pitched for the Orix Buffaloes in 2023.

Story continues below advertisement

Featured image via Yukihito Taguchi / USA TODAY Sports Images