Yoshinobu Yamamoto says Ohtani isn’t ‘sole reason’ he joined the Dodgers

Yoshinobu Yamamoto says Ohtani isn’t ‘sole reason’ he joined the Dodgers
via Los Angeles Dodgers
Carl Samson
By Carl Samson
December 28, 2023
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the new star pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has shared that Shohei Ohtani is not the only reason he signed with the team.
What he’s saying: Yamamoto, 25, signed a 12-year, $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers after Ohtani inked a 10-year, $700 million contract. Both deals are historic: Ohtani’s is the biggest-ever in team sports, while Yamamoto’s is the largest and longest-ever guaranteed to a major league pitcher.
On Wednesday, Yamamoto faced reporters as a new member of the Dodgers for the first time. He clarified that while Ohtani’s presence on the team was influential, it was not the only reason he signed with them.
“I wouldn’t say he was the sole reason I decided to come here,” he said through an interpreter. “Even if he went somewhere else, I probably still would have ended up in L.A. as a Dodger.”
He added, “On top of that, Shohei is obviously not only just one of the best Japanese players, but he’s one of the best players — period — in all of MLB. To be able to play with him here on out means a lot to me.”

About Yamamoto: Yamamoto boasts an impressive record from his career in Japan. In his seven seasons with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes, he achieved a 70-29 win-loss record, a 1.82 ERA and 922 strikeouts.
In his last three, he won a Japan Series title, a World Baseball Classic title, three pitching Triple Crowns, three Pacific League MVPs and three Sawamura Awards, or the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award. His fastball reaches up to 97 miles per hour.
What’s next: Yamamoto joins a team that has heavily invested in talent, with over $1 billion spent in free agency this offseason. The Dodgers are set to open the 2024 season against the San Diego Padres on March 20.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the Orix organization, the Dodger organization and all the people close to me who have given me so much support throughout this free-agent process,” said Yamamoto, who donned the team’s No. 18 jersey. “I am truly excited to wear Dodger Blue and can’t wait to play in front of a packed Dodger Stadium.”
 
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